|Newton has more passing yards in a season than any NFL rookie in history. (Getty Images)|
The phrase "Cam Newton set a rookie record" isn't something that's brand new, because he's been doing it all year long. But on Carolina's first drive against Tampa Bay, Newton set his biggest record yet, breaking Peyton Manning's mark for passing yards in a single season by a rookie.
Manning threw for 3,739 yards in 1998 and with 20 passing yards on the Panthers first drive, Newton jumped him to put himself at 3,742 yards on the year.
Of course, Cam's still got three full quarters of action against the Buccaneers as well as a Week 17 matchup against the Saints, so it's likely the new record will be north of 4,000 yards.
The Panthers are sitting at just five wins (though they lead the Buccaneers early in the first quarter), but Newton's the reason why there's optimism all over Charlotte when it comes to the state of professional football.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this record, though, is how hotly debated the decision to draft Newton first in the 2011 NFL Draft was. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, it's clear that there wasn't ever really a decision at all.
In fact, Newton's near the end of perhaps the greatest rookie season by a quarterback we've ever seen.
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