Text and Photos by R. Mascardo
SANTA CLARA — While Cam Newton shook off some rust following off-season shoulder surgery, the Carolina Panthers had the dominant defense.
Newton overcame a sometimes shaky performance to throw a pair of touchdown passes following San Francisco turn-overs and the Panthers shut down Kyle Shanahan’s offense in his coaching debut, beating the 49ers 23-3 Sunday.
Newton played only one series in the pre-season following off-season surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff and looked like he found his game. He completed 14 out of 25 passes for 171 yards and cost Carolina a touchdown when he missed a wide open Ed Dickson in the end zone in the first half.
But he still managed to do enough to get the win as the Panthers try to rebound from a disappointing 6-10 season in 2016.
The Niners didn’t look any better from last year’s outfit with 14-loss franchise, leading to the firing of Coach Chip Kelly and General Manager Trent Baalke.
Shanahan and new GM John Lynch each got a six-year contract to oversee a massive team rebuilding. There is plenty of to do as San Francisco was scoreless in the first half of the opener for the first time in 40 years and lost the first game of the season for the first time since 2010. The Niners finished with just 217 yards of offense.
Hoyer had a rough debut for San Francisco, throwing for only 193 yards and causing two turn-overs.
NEXT: 49ers to visit Seattle Seahawks next Sunday