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Panthers 17, Raiders 6

The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton threw for a touchdown and ran for another, allowing the defense to take care of the rest against the Oakland Raiders.

The result was a 17-6 victory Sunday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium, giving the Panthers their first three-game winning streak in three years.

In a game between two teams already eliminated from playoff contention, the Panthers (6-9) had to fend off limited threats produced by Raiders backup quarterback Matt Leinart in a game that involved three former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks.

Oakland (4-11) failed to produce a touchdown for the second game in a row.

The Raiders, trailing 14-6, reached the Carolina 24-yard line before turning the ball over on downs with 5:19 to play when Leinart's pass was batted by defensive end Greg Hardy. Their next possession failed to produce a first down.

Newton wasn't flawless, unable to direct a second-half scoring drive until the final minutes in the team's home finale. Graham Gano's 51-yard field goal gave the Panthers a 17-6 cushion at the 2:46 mark.

Newton had the longest active streak in the NFL without an interception (a team-record 176 passes) until his 25th pass of the game was intercepted by Raiders rookie linebacker Miles Burris on the last play of the third quarter. 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.

The Raiders settled for Sebastian Janikowski's 31-yard field goal, pulling within 14-6.

Newton's 23-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Steve Smith opened the scoring in the first quarter, capping an 88-yard drive.

Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer didn't last through the first quarter after he was clobbered by Hardy, who was called for roughing the passer for leading with the helmet while pressuring Palmer outside the pocket. Palmer was out with a ribs injury.

Leinart, who had thrown only one pass all season, directed a 73-yard second-quarter drive that stalled at the Carolina 3-yard line and resulted in Janikowski's 21-yard field goal.

Leinart, a former first-round draft selection of the Arizona Cardinals, completed 16 of 32 passes for 115 yards.

Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly's interception of Leinart and 25-yard return to the Oakland 29 set up Newton's 3-yard run on a scramble with 17 seconds left in the first half.

The Panthers initially failed to increase their first-half lead when Gano's 48-yard field goal attempt with 1:41 remaining drifted wide right.

The Raiders failed to take advantage of recovering Carolina punt returner Joe Adams' fumble in the third quarter at the Panthers 32.

Newton was 18 of 29 for 170 passing yards. He led all players in the game with 63 rushing yards.

Kuechly, a rookie out of Boston College, set the franchise's single-season record for tackles in the first quarter with his 140th.

Oakland has won only one of seven road games this year.

Notes: Panthers OG Amini Silatolu suffered a wrist injury on the first series of the game and didn't return. ... Oakland lost DB Phillip Adams and S Tyvon Branch to injuries during the game. ... Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor caught a first-quarter pass from Palmer, who lined up in a receiver's spot and took a toss from Pryor before returning the ball to him. ... The Panthers lead the all-time series 3-2. ... The Panthers announced their 103rd consecutive sellout, though there were hundreds of empty seats.
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