Panthers win eighth straight to set up showdown at Saints

tolbertThe Carolina Panthers used a dominating performance from the defense Sunday, limiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to 206 yards in a 27-6 shredding at Bank of America Stadium.

Quarterback Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes and scored on a rushing play as the Panthers won their franchise-record eighth game in a row.

“It’s good just seeing our hard work paying off,” former Coastal Carolina standout and Carolina fullback Mike Tolbert said. “But we’re not done by any means.”

The Panthers (9-3) pulled within a half-game of the New Orleans Saints, who play Monday night at Seattle, in the NFC South. The Panthers and Saints will meet next week at New Orleans and Dec. 22 in Charlotte.

“We can talk about it now,” Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said of the matchup with the Saints.

“I don’t know how much of a bigger game that you can have,” tight end Greg Olsen said.

Carolina’s stout defense made it difficult on rookie quarterback Mike Glennon as Tampa Bay’s three-game winning streak came to an end.

Newton was intercepted twice, but he made enough other big plays to make up for those wayward throws. He completed 18 of 29 passes for 263 yards and also was the game’s top rusher with 68 yards.

Carolina held an opponent without a touchdown for the second time in a four-game span. The Buccaneers (3-9) managed only one third-down conversion in 10 tries.

Photo by Joel Beachum, Carolina Clicks Photos

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