Newton had circled this date as a chance to face boyhood idol Michael Vick on the national stage. Newton didn't get that wish, but it still was a very special night for the 2011 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Newton finished 18-of-28 passing for 306 yards, the two TDs and no turnovers -- by far his best effort of the season.
Newton's raw ability can leave you in awe. On his first rushing TD, he launched himself over Eagles safety Nate Allen and reached his right arm across the goal line, his big hand wrapped around the football like it was a Nerf toy. ESPN analyst Jon Gruden later said Newton was "playing the position in a way I've never seen played."
Of course, this was the version of Newton many people expected to see on a regular basis. Newton has hit a plateau in his second NFL season, but the Panthers will take positive feelings out of 2012 if Superman can finish on a roll.