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                === Newton leads Panthers past winless Bucs ===
 
 Tampa,  FL (SportsNetwork.com)  -  The Carolina  Panthers  find themselves  in
 unfamiliar territory.
 
 On the flip side, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers remain in a freefall.
 
 Cam  Newton threw  two  touchdown passes  and  ran for  another  score as  the
 Panthers cruised to a 31-13 victory over the winless Buccaneers Thursday night
 at Raymond James Stadium.
 
 Newton  had 221  yards on 23-of-32 passing  and added 50 yards rushing for the
 Panthers  (4-3), who have  won three in a row to move above .500 for the first
 time since the end of the 2008 season.
 
 Rookie  Mike  Glennon completed 30-of-51  passes for  275 yards with a fourth-
 quarter  touchdown  pass for Tampa  Bay (0-7), which  has opened a season with
 seven consecutive losses for the second time in five years.
 
 "We just made some errors that are going to keep you from winning games," said
 Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano.
 
 The Panthers built a 14-3 lead after a pair of long touchdown drives.
 
 Newton was 7-of-8 on an opening possession that featured 15 plays and consumed
 nearly  nine  minutes. Newton moved  the chains by  scrambling for 16 yards on
 3rd-and-12  from the Tampa  Bay 35 before finding a wide-open Greg Olsen for a
 1-yard TD on another third down.
 
 After Tampa Bay countered with a 47-yard Rian Lindell field goal, the Panthers
 covered  80  yards in  six plays.  Fullback Mike Tolbert  closed out the first
 quarter  with 22-yard run to near midfield, then Newton hit Ted Ginn, Jr., who
 broke  a  tackle on a crossing  pattern. The 35-yard catch-and-run converted a
 3rd-and-3  from the Tampa  Bay 47, and DeAngelo Williams raced to the end zone
 on the next play.
 
 Carolina's  offense stalled  for a  bit after  opening the  game with  the two
 impressive drives.
 
 "Execution  was the key to this game," Newton said. "We came out on fire as an
 offense, put up 14 points. Then hit a lull."
 
 The Panthers found their rhythm again in the third quarter. Following a three-
 and-out by Tampa Bay, the Panthers got the ball back at their 47-yard line.
 
 Facing  a  4th-and-1 from  the Tampa Bay  28, Tolbert powered  his way for two
 yards,  getting the first down with his second effort. Newton then followed up
 a 19-yard run with a 6-yard dash for a touchdown.
 
 Later in the third, Tampa Bay's Eric Page muffed a punt and Carolina recovered
 the fumble. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Newton and Tolbert hooked
 up for a 3-yard scoring strike.
 
 Graham Gano added a 29-yard field before Glennon connected with Tim Wright for
 a 10-yard TD with 2:53 to play.
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 The  Panthers finished the 2008 regular season with a 12-4 record ... Ginn had
 80 yards on five receptions ... Williams ran eight times for 43 yards ... Mike
 James  started  in  place  of  injured Tampa  Bay  running  back  Doug  Martin
 (shoulder)  and  totaled only  39 yards  on 10 carries  ... Bucs wide receiver
 Vincent  Jackson was targeted  13 times, but made just five grabs for 79 yards
 ...  Lavonte David  notched his fifth sack  of the season, the most by a Tampa
 Bay linebacker since Lonnie Marts recorded seven in 1996.
 
 
 10/25 01:37:25 ET

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