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Cards' defense shines in error-filled win over Panthers
Glendale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Rashard Mendenhall and Jim Dray scored the game's only touchdowns as the Arizona Cardinals held the Carolina Panthers out of the end zone in 22-6 victory.
The Cardinals (3-2) survived three Carson Palmer interceptions with a dominant defensive effort that was highlighted by four forced turnovers, seven sacks and a safety. Daryl Washington, in his first game back from a four-week suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, finished with nine tackles, two sacks and an interception in Arizona's second straight win.
"Those are the type of games that we're going to need to keep putting together," Arizona head coach Bruce Arians remarked. "You can call them ugly wins, or any kind of wins you want, as long as they're wins, I love them."
Palmer threw for just 175 yards with a touchdown on 19-of-28 passing, while Cam Newton completed 21-of-39 throws for 308 yards for the Panthers (1-3), who were coming off a bye week following a 38-0 thrashing of the New York Giants.
Newton did not resemble the quarterback that threw for 422 yards and totaled three touchdowns in his pro debut at University of Phoenix Stadium two years ago. He was pressured throughout and threw three interceptions while losing a fumble.
His second interception came in the red zone on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Panthers were only trailing 12-6 at the time and never crossed midfield again.
Jay Feely booted a 50-yard field goal to extend Arizona's lead to 15-6 with 3:38 remaining. Defensive end Calais Campbell, who recorded a safety earlier in the game, stripped Newton on the next possession.
The fumble was returned inside Carolina's 10-yard line, and Palmer hooked up with Dray for a 7-yard score to ice the victory.
"When you score six points in the NFL it's on everybody," Carolina tight end Greg Olsen said of the loss. "Didn't do our job well enough."
Andre Ellington sparked Arizona's anemic offense early in the third quarter with an 8-yard catch on 3rd-and-7 and a 26-yard run down to the Carolina 12- yard line. Mendenhall carried the ball the next three plays and punched it in from a yard out to give the Cardinals their first lead, 10-6, with 5:48 left in the frame.
A personal foul penalty on the ensuing kickoff and an offensive pass interference infraction on Steve Smith pinned the Panthers back at their own five. On the next snap, Campbell blew past center Ryan Kalil and sacked Newton in the end zone for a safety and a 12-6 Arizona lead.
The Cardinals tried a flea-flicker two minutes into the game, and Palmer's jump ball intended for Michael Floyd was picked off by Robert Lester in the end zone.
After the turnover, Newton completed five straight passes for a total of 70 yards to reach the Arizona 11, but threw incomplete on third down to bring out Graham Gano for a 22-yard field goal.
Feely tied things with a 42-yard kick 7 1/2 minutes into the second, and a promising Panthers drive was stopped when a wide open Brandon LaFell dropped a ball thrown between his numbers on 4th-and-1 from the Arizona 15.
After Newton and Palmer were both intercepted deep in enemy territory, Newton guided a two-minute drill into field goal range for Gano, who made it from 51 yards out after a holding penalty moved the half-ending try back 10 yards.
Palmer is 3-0 in his career against the Panthers ... Floyd led Arizona with five catches for 61 yards ... DeAngelo Williams was limited to 39 yards on 12 carries for the Panthers, who gained 353 yards to Arizona's 250 ... The Panthers committed nine penalties for 79 yards.
10/06 20:23:17 ET