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December 23, 2012

Halftime: Panthers 14, Raiders 3

By JOSEPH PERSON

jperson@charlotteobserver.com

Quarterback Cam Newton accounted for a pair of touchdowns to lead the Panthers to a 14-3 halftime lead over Oakland on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

Newton scrambled for a 3-yard touchdown run with 17 seconds left in the half after rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly intercepted Raiders quarterback Matt Leinart with 1:21 remaining.

Leinart was playing in place of starting quarterback Carson Palmer, who left with an injury to the ribs after a hard hit by defensive end Greg Hardy – one of four personal foul penalties called on the teams for either roughing the passer or hitting the head of a defenseless receiver.

The Panthers failed to score on their opening possession after scoring touchdowns on their first drive in their four previous games. On the second play of the game, DeAngelo Williams went around left end for an apparent 76-yard touchdown run.

But wideout Steve Smith was called for holding, negating the score.

Smith made up for it on the next drive with catches on consecutive plays – a 16-yarder over the middle and a 23-yard touchdown along the right sideline that put the Panthers up 7-0 with 3:12 left in the first quarter.

Sebastian Janikowski's 21-yard field goal cut the Panthers' lead to 7-3 with 6:25 remaining in the first half.

Newton completed 13 of 19 passes for 142 yards and extended to his team-record streak of passes without an interception to 171.

Posted by Observer Sports on December 23, 2012 at 02:27 PM | Permalink

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