Panthers refuse to lose; Newton blows his fuse

The Panthers defeated the Oakland Raiders 17-6 on Sunday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium, lifting them to their first three-game winning streak in three years, thanks to a fired-up quarterback Cam Newton – in more ways than one.

Newton threw for a touchdown and ran for another, allowing the defense to take care of the rest against the offensive-hurting Raiders. But he also showed the frustration of a team locked out of the playoffs despite playing its best football of the season.

After throwing a 23-yard TD strike to Steve Smith and later scoring on a 3-yard run to give the Panthers a commanding 14-3 lead in the second quarter, Newton had his NFL-best active streak without an interception snapped at 176 passes. The pass was tipped by linebacker Philip Wheeler to Burris, who made a diving catch for his first career pickoff and a 7-yard return to the Carolina 18-yard line.

Newton was later penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct in the fourth quarter after brushing into referee Jerome Boger, who later said through a pool reporter that he misspoke in announcing the infraction. He said Newton should have been penalized for “disrespectfully addressing the official” because the contact wasn’t of a malicious nature. Earlier Newton kicked Oakland’s Tommy Kelly after he was sacked, yet Kelly was given a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness.

“It’s respect. It’s pride,” Newton said of the Panthers’ motivation. “Is it too late? Some may say that. … If we want to be a playoff-type of team we want to be, it’s going to come down to winning games in November and December. We’re trying to get that in our pedigree moving forward.”

Newton was 18 of 29 for 170 passing yards and led all players in the game with 60 rushing yards.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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