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December 30, 2012

Huge second half propels Carolina to 44-38 victory in season finale

NEW ORLEANS—The Carolina Panthers saved the best for last.

In the final game of the 2012 season, the Panthers topped New Orleans 44-38 while racking up a season-high 530 yards of total offense.

DeAngelo Williams rushed for 210 yards and two touchdowns to lead the team while quarterback Cam Newton went 16-for-33 for 248 yards.

The Panthers jumped to an early 10-0 but allowed the Saints to score 17 points in the second quarter, entering halftime down 17-13.

The Saints came out to start the second half and drove 80 yards in eight plays to take a 24-13 lead before Carolina’s offense exploded.

With a strong rushing attack, Carolina put up 31 second-half points that went unanswered by New Orleans until midway through the fourth quarter.

Newton went down with a left ankle injury in the third quarter but returned five snaps later.

The Panthers finish the season at 7-9 after winning the final four games.

--Jonathan Jones

Posted by Observer Sports on December 30, 2012 at 04:29 PM | Permalink

Comments

Lot of heart guys...yes frustrating because we needed wins earlier...coach should stay in getting this performance from all the scrubs we have left due to the injuries...guess we will see who is left and who is new after the draft...tough year but the last few weeks have been fun...one last thing, for all you Cam haters the guy showed a lot of guts today, very happy having him as our QB and I hate losing too...guess withdrawals start now...

Posted by: Bull123 | Dec 30, 2012 4:44:41 PM

Hats off to those guys. They could have easily mailed it in earlier but persevered to finish the season strong. Hopefully they'll continue to improve next year and learn how to win those close games. I truly think we do have a sleeping giant here.

Posted by: Lamont | Dec 30, 2012 4:52:50 PM

the only bad part about this is that now rivera stands a solid chance of getting another year he doesn't deserve.

how can you look at this and blame deangelo williams for his stats? how can you ignore the horrible mismanagement of the roster? how can you ignore all of the clock management gaffs? the prevent defense?

the guy has proven he isn't cut out for it. if the argument is "we're not sure we can do better" I want to know where that argument was when we let fox go? because it will be very hard to EVER find that good of a coach for this job again.

jack del rio would be my pick, but i could almost care less. we easily had the talent this year to contend for a superbowl and the only reason we didn't was because of poor coaching.

borderline everybody on the roster should be back. cut all the FS's and draft one. gamble can go, the young corners will be fine. if you're picking between running backs WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU LET WILLIAMS GO? as much as i like tolbert's game, he can't do what williams does and stewart isn't ever healthy enough. There's very little fat to be trimmed but it has to be trimmed to get under the cap. Beason probably needs to restructure to stay. But he should def stay. He was a pro bowler at WLB too.

I'm not sold on lafell. He was fine this year, but murphy, edwards, gettis and pilares could all do his job given the chance. He wasn't THAT good.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 30, 2012 5:04:01 PM

This is definitely trending up! Good win for a growing coach, who (imho) will be a very good , if not great coach down the line. Give him time. Give him a chance. Coach Rivera, thank you. D-line & DC, good job on finishing the year strong. OC, thanks for getting your focus back. O-line, patchwork line worked together & did a great job given the circumstances. Cam, continue to keep learning & growing! And please keep Derek Anderson, who filled in admirably!! GO PANTHERS.

Posted by: CarolinaGurl | Dec 30, 2012 5:20:32 PM

With a banged up defense, all credit to the coaches. This defense has played lights out when a lot of other teams would have thrown in the towel. I really hope JR will give Rivera another year. 6 games ago, I wanted all the coaches gone. They certainly have shown an up trend. Besides, Cam having to learn another playbook will be "REBUILDING", and another two years.
Finally, I do hope we manage to keep D-Will. Congrats coaches, hope it works out!

Posted by: irishfan | Dec 30, 2012 5:29:13 PM

Rivera, should stay. Can't ignore how the team improved despite all the issues, give him another year.
Just noticed the The Observer is now trying to charge us for reading the stories online.

Posted by: Kenny | Dec 30, 2012 6:33:13 PM

this team didn't improve. Talent was never the issue. gameplan always was. play calling, situation strategy, substitutions.

the amount of close losses in games we had won is proof of that. we win 3 of those 7 and we're in the playoffs. this would have been excusable if it were rivera's 1st year as a head coach or if he were younger. he played, then he coached for a ton of years before he became a head coach last year. then he spent this year finding ways to blow 4th quarter leads and come up with game plans for failure. i'm sure there's worse out there, but there's definitely better also. at best he's a 20th best coach in the league among head coaches, but there are definitely coordinators and unemployed out there that are clearly better.

our team is stacked. our close wins should have been blowouts. the only legit losses we had were against new york because of adams fumbling away kick returns and against denver who just played great. the rest of the games were lost on coaching. that's 7 losses to teams like tampa bay, kansas city, seattle, dallas, and the chicago game where he just shot us in the face repeatedly down the stretch.

the guy is a horrible football coach. fox would have gone 12-4 with this same team. maybe better.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 30, 2012 7:01:21 PM

Our ONLY chance for a winning season next year is to get rid of Rivera. It would also help to get an owner that cares about the team and the fans. They proved in the last 4 games that they've had the talent all along. Bargain Basement Coachs sank us this year.

Posted by: Ashamed | Dec 30, 2012 7:14:30 PM

I believe some of you guys are a little hard on Rivera. Head coach is different from coordinator. Sure Fox most likely would have done better with this team, but he ran his course in Carolina, he underachieved a hand full of years in Charlotte, and all the fans were yelling for a replacement.

Now, back to Rivera, he is a very promising coach. Chud and McDermott have done really good jobs as well. As long as we get a good GM to steer the ship, the coaches will be fine.

Look for Carolina to have a good draft, and land a good WR and OL in free agency.

I see us winning 10 or 11 games next year and being a contender!

Posted by: T-Mac | Dec 30, 2012 7:37:43 PM

Fox would have gone 12-4, LOL. Fox would have no idea how to even use a guy like Cam. Fox is the luckiest overrated coach in the NFL. He's nothing more than puppet in Denver, a yes man. After last season, Fox had 3 winning seasons in 10 years as a head coach, he now has 4 winning seasons in 11 years. It's amazing he still has a job.

Posted by: Kenny | Dec 30, 2012 7:39:21 PM

Sick an tired of hearing all of these idiots that think Rivera, with no previous head coaching experience prior to last year, think that he should have completely mastered the craft by now! Yes, he's made mistakes that have cost us, but mistakes he's learned from and are now using to his advantage. As I commented to another column, and not to compare RR to this legendary coach, but it took Dean Smith 4 or 5 years before he produced a winner at Carolina. How stupid would all of you have looked if you had fired Dean Smith after 2 years because he hadn't " mastered the craft" just yet....and I'm quite certain that all of you were masters of your given trade after 2 years, too....right? Try to be a little more logical before posting dumb@$$ comments in the future.

Posted by: David Crabb | Dec 30, 2012 7:50:25 PM

The biggest coaching mistakes were moving away from the 2 TE sets that were succesful and too much read option. But as the owner is cheap, the coaches will certainly be back. The team is still overcoming the horrible decision to waste a pick on Clausen-can't blow your first pick even moreso if it's in the second round, that's on Hurney. Although the CO sportwriters completely endorsed it with fluffy pieces. Team should improve next year.

Posted by: Lucky Day | Dec 30, 2012 8:10:18 PM

The defense is playing well, and finally stopped giving away games (they never were really that bad this year, just the antithesis of clutch early in the season).

As a side note: Luke Kuechly finished with 15 more tackles than anyone in the league this year, despite not starting at MLB until week 5, and didn't make the pro bowl, which is a complete joke.

Posted by: Box Scores | Dec 31, 2012 7:22:32 AM

Armanti Edwards, finished 2012 #2 in the NFL for the season in punt return average. He finished #6 in the NFL in receiving average. He has the 1st and 3rd longest yardage plays for the Panthers this year. He has the longest punt return, pass reception and kick off return for the Panthers for the 2012 season. http://www.appstatenation.com/2012/12/31/video-panthers-wr-armanti-edwards-69yd-punt-return/

Posted by: All Down Hill | Dec 31, 2012 11:46:40 AM

@ David Crabb - Well said.

Posted by: All Down Hill | Dec 31, 2012 11:50:29 AM

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