Rookie Patrick Peterson returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown with just over seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter as the Arizona Cardinals spoiled the debut of top overall pick Cam Newton with a 28-21 home victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Newton completed 24 of 37 passes for 422 yards and connected with veteran Steve Smith on scoring strikes of 77 and 26 yards. The Heisman Trophy winner also rushed for a score from 1 yard out in the third quarter, but saw his final drive end just short of the goal line.
The fifth overall pick of the draft, Peterson snapped a 21-21 tie after reeling in a punt at his own 11-yard-line, finding a seam and racing down the right sideline.
Offseason acquisition Kevin Kolb fared well in his first game with the Cardinals, throwing a 48-yard touchdown to former Panthers tight end Jeff King and a 70-yard strike to Early Doucet.
Kolb finished with 309 yards passing, although only 62 went to Pro Bowl wideout Larry Fitzgerald, who inked an eight-year, $120 million contract last month.
With Tim Hightower now playing in Washington, former first-round pick Beanie Wells rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown for Arizona.
Carolina stud linebacker Jon Beason re-injured his left ankle and was carted off the field during the third quarter. Beason has collected at least 120 tackles in each of his four seasons.