NFL Preseason Preview - Kansas City (1-0) at Carolina (0-1)
By John McMullen, NFL Editor
(SportsNetwork.com) - Cam Newton is expected to be back on the field Sunday when the Carolina Panthers resume their preseason slate against opportunistic foe Kansas City.
Newton, the Panthers' star quarterback who underwent ankle surgery in late March, was cleared to play a week ago according to Carolina head coach Ron Rivera.
"Cam is on track to do the things we need him to do now," Rivera told reporters last Sunday. "We've mapped out a lot of things. We're now getting to the point where the work load is going to increase and things are going to change and we're going to do things differently now."
The Panthers came up short in their preseason opener against Buffalo without Newton, dropping a 20-18 decision when Jeff Tuel's touchdown pass with six minutes left in the fourth quarter lifted the Bills.
Backup Derek Anderson started for the Panthers and connected with wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin on an acrobatic 29-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
"We knew he had big play ability and those are the kind of big plays we are looking for," Rivera said when discussing Benjamin, the team's first-round draft pick.
Joe Webb, who is battling University of Wisconsin rookie Matt Blanchard, for the third WB spot finished 16-for-28 with 180 yards, a touchdown and added 30 rushing yards.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, outlasted the Cincinnati Bengals, 41-39, in the preseason opener for both teams last Thursday after scoring in all three phases -- offense, defense and special teams.
Rookie De'Anthony Thomas had an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown while Sean Smith and Malcolm Bronson each returned interceptions for scores. Travis Kelce and Cyrus Gray scored the old-fashioned way on a 69-yard reception and 2-yard run respectively.
"We want to score touchdowns in all three phases of the game and we were able to do a pretty nice job of that," Chiefs coach Andy Reid understated.
Alex Smith played three series for Kansas City, going 3-of-5 for 19 yards, while Jamaal Charles carried the ball three times for 12 yards and added two receptions for nine yards for Kansas City, which went 11-5 and made the playoffs in its first year under Reid in 2013.
Kelce hauled in his 69-yard TD pass courtesy of Chase Daniel, who was 8-of-10 for 126 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the triumph as Kansas City recorded its most points scored in a preseason game since the club posted 42 against New Orleans on August 10, 1996.
These two teams have only met once prior in the preseason, which took place in August of 1997 when Kansas City defeated Carolina 30-10 at Arrowhead Stadium.
08/14 14:04:45 ET