JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Cam Newton was perfect in his preseason debut.
Seeing live action for the first time since last season's finale, Newton completed both of his passes for 21 yards and a touchdown in Carolina's 24-23 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night.
Newton's 9-yard slant pass to Kelvin Benjamin capped a 10-play opening drive that showed Panthers coach Ron Rivera all he needed to see from his star quarterback. Newton spent the rest of the night watching from the sideline.
The 2015 league MVP had surgery in March to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his right, throwing shoulder. Newton participated in the first five practices of training camp before developing soreness and backing off for nearly two weeks.
He amped up his workload this week in preparation for the team's third exhibition, quite possibly the only action he'll get in the preseason. The Panthers (2-1) wrap up exhibition play next week against Pittsburgh.
The Jaguars (1-2), meanwhile, may continue their quarterback competition into the preseason finale at Atlanta.
Chad Henne got the start over Blake Bortles and had an up-and-down night that would have been much better if not for a drop. Henne completed 8 of 14 passes for 73 yards. He lofted two perfect deep balls to rookie Keelan Cole and Allen Robinson, although Cole dropped a would-be touchdown for the second time in as many games.
Henne also was sacked three times and had a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage. He led the Jaguars on two scoring drives in five possessions, the first one aided by a 51-yard run on a fake punt.
Bortles was 12-of-16 passing for 125 yards, highlighted by a 4-yard touchdown pass to Shane Wynn in the fourth quarter. Bortles also threw an interception that was returned 48 yards and set up a touchdown in the third. The ill-advised pass was a little behind Allen Hurns and into double coverage.
Bortles and Jacksonville's starting offensive line played deep into the fourth quarter, facing mostly second- and third-teamers.