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In the process, he broke Peyton Manning's record of 3,739 yards passing for a rookie.

On January 1, 2012 against the New Orleans Saints, Newton threw for 158 yards and became the first rookie quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards. Over the course of the season, when Newton had a turnover, the team was 0–10; when he had no turnovers, the team went 6–0.

He was the first reigning Heisman Trophy winner to go first overall since Carson Palmer in 2003. 1 selection after Tucker Frederickson (1965), Bo Jackson (1986), and Aundray Bruce (1988).

Dave Zirin, reporter for The Nation.com, even accused Richardson of racism.His quarterbacks coach was Mike Shula, former head football coach of his college rival Alabama.In his rookie year, Newton broke all-time NFL rookie records for passing and rushing yards.He became the first NFL quarterback to throw for 400 yards in his first game, shattering Peyton Manning's first-game record by 120 yards.After Newton's second career game, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers commented, "I think someone said in the locker room that I'm kind of glad we played him early in the season because when he figures it out fully, he's going to be even tougher to stop." Newton's three additional interceptions against the Packers tied him for the most interceptions thrown in the league.

His total passing yards over the first three games was 1,012 yards.He threw for 256 yards and 1 touchdown, completing 18 of his 23 passes.He also rushed for 59 yards and a touchdown, including one run for 25 yards.This performance brought Cam a passer rating of 127.5, his highest yet.With Carolina's win over the Indianapolis Colts, Newton became the fourth rookie quarterback to pass for over 3,000 yards in his first season, joining Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, and Sam Bradford.As a 16-year-old junior, he passed for 2,500 yards and 23 touchdowns and ran for 638 yards and nine touchdowns, gaining the attention of major college programs.