The Carolina Panthers made a statement with their franchise quarterback Sunday, and it cost them early.
Reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton stayed on the sidelines in favour of Derek Anderson, who earned the surprise start at quarterback against the Seattle Seahawks, a "coach's decision" announced by the Panthers simultaneously with the start of the game.
And Anderson promptly threw an interception to Mike Morgan on the game's first play.
The Seahawks managed a 23-yard Steve Hauschka field goal out of the turnover for a quick 3-0 lead.
Aaaannnnd intercepted. Not the best start, but plenty of football left. https://t.co/wdNyyW6TYI-- Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) December 5, 2016
Newton - a three-time Pro Bowler - entered the game on the Panthers' following drive.
No official explanation was immediately given as to why coach Ron Rivera decided to bench Newton.