When Panthers quarterback Cam Newton ran for a touchdown on Thursday night against the Eagles, it was the 51st rushing touchdown of his career — an unprecedented number for a quarterback, and a pretty good number even for a running back.
Since Newton entered the NFL in 2011, he’s second in the NFL among all players in rushing touchdowns. Only Marshawn Lynch, with 53 rushing touchdowns since 2011, has more. LeSean McCoy, with 49 rushing touchdowns, is next, followed by Adrian Peterson with 45.
And it goes without saying that no other quarterback has been close to Newton’s rushing touchdown total since 2011: Andy Dalton, with 18 rushing touchdowns, is 33 behind Newton, but he’s second among quarterbacks since 2011.
Newton is atop the all-time list of rushing touchdowns for quarterbacks, with eight more than Steve Young, who scored 43 career rushing touchdowns and is second all time among quarterbacks. Young is followed by Jack Kemp with 40, Y.A. Tittle with 39 and Kordell Stewart with 38. Aaron Rodgers is second among active quarterbacks with 25 career rushing touchdowns — less than half as many as Newton.
Whether the 28-year-old Newton can continue running like this for much longer remains to be seen. Last year he had career lows in carries (90), yards (359) and yards per carry (4.0). But even if Newton slows down as a runner, he’s already done things with his legs that no other quarterback in NFL history has done.