CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera has his way, Cam Newton won’t be running as many read-option plays as he has in the past.
If Jonathan Stewart runs the way he did Sunday night, Newton won’t need to.
Newton made a successful return following ankle surgery, Stewart ran for two touchdowns and the Panthers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 28-16 in a preseason game.
Newton completed 4 of 9 passes for 65 yards and led a pair of touchdown drives before exiting late in the second quarter with Carolina (1-1) up 14-6. Stewart ran for 26 yards on four carries and made a strong case to be the Panthers’ goal-line back — if not their primary ball carrier — with scoring runs of 3 and 2 yards.
Kansas City’s Alex Smith finished 14 of 22 for 127 yards.
The Chiefs (1-1) moved the ball well early on without star running back Jamaal Charles, but were forced to settle for a pair of field goals — one of them a 54-yarder by Ryan Succop.
Dwayne Bowe, who will miss the first game of the regular season because of an NFL-imposed suspension, had five catches for 62 yards but none of the Chiefs’ other wide receivers stood out.
Rookie quarterback Aaron Murray’s first NFL pass completion was for a 43-yard touchdown strike to tight end Travis Kelce, but he later threw an interception leading to a Carolina touchdown.