Final Score: Carolina 48, Tampa Bay 16
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Cam Newton broke Peyton Manning's NFL rookie
passing record, throwing for 171 yards and three touchdowns to lead the
Carolina Panthers to a 48-16 win over Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday.
Newton needed just 18 yards to break Manning's record of 3,739 yards for
He has 3,893 passing yards this season and is just 107 yards from becoming the
first player in NFL history to pass for 4,000 yards and rush for 10 or more
touchdowns in a season.
Newton also rushed for a touchdown for Carolina (6-9) while DeAngelo Williams
ran for 66 yards and two TDs. Brandon LaFell caught three passes for 103
yards, including a 91-yard touchdown -- the longest TD catch in team history.
"It felt great. It's always good for a starting quarterback to come out of the
game early that's not injury related," Newton said. "For me to come in and do
this is just a tribute to so many people that have helped me out," "Including
my coaches and supporting cast it just helped me out."
The Buccaneers (4-11) had a dismal day offensively, turning the ball over four
times en route to their ninth straight loss. Josh Freeman threw for 274 yards
and a touchdown, but also one interception.
"You cannot expect to win games turning the ball over," said Bucs' head coach
Raheem Morris. "Four turnovers today that led to points. That is the
difference between last year and this year."
Kellen Winslow led all Tampa Bay receivers with six catches for 63 yards.
The Panthers struck first with an 80-yard drive capped by an eight-yard
touchdown run from Williams.
Moments later Freeman fumbled the snap on the Buccaneers' first play from
scrimmage and it was recovered by Carolina's James Anderson on the Tampa Bay
The Buccaneers were able to keep the Panthers out of the end zone, forcing an
Olindo Mare 21-yard field goal, giving Carolina a 10-0 lead.
Tampa answered back on its second drive after Freeman connected with Arrelious
Benn for a four-yard touchdown pass. The play was initially ruled incomplete,
but was overturned on a challenge.
The Panthers wasted no time getting into the end zone again as Newton hooked
up with LaFell on the second play of the drive. Dropping back into his own end
zone, and with the pocket collapsing, Newton hit LaFell with a strike and
LaFell was able to shake a defender before a Steve Smith block took care of
the last man to beat, giving Carolina a 17-7 lead.
Tampa Bay added a 42-yard field goal from Connor Barth after its next drive
stalled while Carolina came back with a field goal of its own in the final
minute of the half to take a 20-10 lead into the break.
"In the first half, excluding the first fumble, we had two drives and scored
on both of them," Freeman said. "Then in the second half we came out turned
the ball over and only had three possessions. Its tough, especially when you go
into the half down 10."
Things only went downhill for the Bucs in the second half as Freeman's pass
intended for Kellen Winslow was picked off by Jonathan Nelson and returned to
Tampa's 32-yard line. Williams scored on a 22-yard touchdown.
Later, the Panthers were able to force a Winslow fumble before Newton hooked
up with Jonathan Stewart for an 11-yard touchdown.
Carolina forced a Tampa punt with 1:19 remaining in the third quarter before
Newton broke a 49-yard touchdown run, his 14th rushing touchdown of the
season, taking a 41-10 lead.
The Panthers then forced a fumble on the kickoff before Newton hit Jeremy
Shockey for an eight-yard touchdown pass.
Freeman was able to lead the Bucs down the field in the fourth quarter,
rushing for a one-yard touchdown, but failed to complete a two-point
The Panthers defense was able to shut down the Bucs over the remaining 11:08
to secure their sixth win of the season.
"We got a big one coming up next week, it be great to finish strong in the
division and send a message that we are a team to be reckoned with next year,"
Carolina head coach Ron Rivera said.
Newton's 14 rushing touchdowns is the most ever by a quarterback in league
history...Tampa Bay deactivated defensive tackles Albert Haynesworth and Brian
Price prior to the game...Bucs' cornerback Ronde Barber started his 198th
consecutive game, an NFL record for cornerbacks.
12/24 19:16:36 ET
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