CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers (6-9) continued their late season surge with a 17-6 win over Oakland (4-11) on Sunday.
Frustration stemmed from a physical game that rained penalty flags. Six unecessary roughness penalties were issued including one that sidelined Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer for the day. The Panthers gained just 274 yards of offense but limited the Raiders to 189 yards and 12 first downs.
“It was one of those games where you had to have a gutsy performance,” said Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. “We made the plays when we had to at points to win the football game. The defense was outstanding, did some really good things.”
Carolina’s second year quarterback Cam Newton accounted for a pair of touchdowns to lead the Panthers to a 14-3 halftime lead.
Newton scrambled for a 3-yard touchdown run with 17 seconds left in the half after rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly intercepted Raiders backup quarterback Matt Leinart.
Kicker Graham Gano nailed a 51-yard field goal with 2:46 remaining to push the Panthers to an 11-point lead after the Raiders exhausted their second-half timeouts. Gano had earlier missed a 48-yard field goal attempt.
“We understand what kind of game it was. It wasn’t pretty,” Newton said. “There are going to be games like this. Obviously, we want to have high-scoring, high-powered games to give the fans. But a win is a win in this book and I’ll take it any way I can get it.”
The Panthers are on a three game winning streak for the first time since the final weeks of the 2009 season and will close out 2012 next Sunday at New Orleans.
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