NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As Sunday's game at Tennessee moved into the second quarter, those of us in the press box were tracking the best start to a game of quarterback Cam Newton's career.
Newton's 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ed Dickson, which gave Carolina a 14-7 lead, was his 10th consecutive completion.
He couldn't miss. The passes, like a 27-yarder to wide receiver Devin Funchess, were perfectly precise and right in stride.
After the Titans cut the deficit to four, Newton extended his streak to 11 with a 17-yard pass to Dickson. The streak ended on the next play with an incomplete pass to wide receiver Ted Ginn, Jr., leaving Newton one completed short of tying Steve Beuerlein for the team record set in 1998.
After the game, Newton was asked about completing 11 consecutive passes to start the game.
"I did?" he asked.
Sometimes, when you're in such a zone, you're not aware of what you've done.
And at that moment, Newton couldn't care less about his perfect start. His team was in the middle of a tight battle. There's no time to admire the stat sheet when you're leading 14-10 at the half.
"We were just focused on moving the ball," said center Ryan Kalil when asked if he was aware of his quarterback's consecutive completions.
Newton finished the first half 12-of-13 for 126 yards.
"Everything was right on the money," tight end Greg Olsen said.
The second half wasn't as gaudy – 9-of-13 for 91 yards – but it was effective. Newton added a hard-fought 2-yard rushing touchdown in the closing minutes to put the game on ice.
All told, he completed 80.8 percent of his passes, the second-highest mark of his career.
"I was just happy to get a win," Newton said, crediting his high completion percentage to the beautiful weather conditions. "I don't necessarily focus on things like that."
Newton has put a lot of work into becoming a more consistently accurate passer. Sunday was a tremendous sign of what he's capable of.
"It's one of those things he has been working on, his fundamentals and his technique, and I've seen those things happen and seen those come to fruition," head coach Ron Rivera said. "He did a nice job today."
View game action photos from Carolina's 27-10 win over Tennessee.