Cam Newton torched the league’s No. 1-ranked defense, completing 21 of 29 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns and running for 52 yards and another score as the Carolina Panthers defeated the Baltimore Ravens 36-21 on Sunday.
Christian McCaffrey had two touchdowns and electrifying rookie wide receiver D.J. Moore turned in his best game as a pro with 129 yards from scrimmage as the Panthers won their ninth straight game at home.
Trailing 7-0 early, the Panthers (5-2) scored on four straight possessions in the final 16 minutes of the first half to break the game open and take a 24-7 halftime lead.
Newton threw an 11-yard TD pass to Greg Olsen , McCaffrey ran for a 11-yard score and caught a 6-yard TD pass that ricocheted off the hands of safety Eric Weddle and into his arms in the end zone. After the Ravens (4-4) climbed to within 13 on Joe Flacco’s TD pass to Javorius Allen, Newton calmly drove the Panthers 85 yards in nine plays and scored from 12 yards out on a naked bootleg to put the game away early in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers rolled up 386 yards against a Ravens defense that had come in allowing a league-low 280.6 yards and 14.4 points per game.
Carolina showed it can still play a little ‘D’ as well, forcing three turnovers.
The momentum-turning play came in the first quarter when defensive tackle Kyle Love crashed through the line and delivered a vicious hit on Ravens running back Alex Collins, jarring the ball loose. Defensive tackle Vernon Butler came up with the loose ball at the Ravens 12 after Luke Kuechly unsuccessfully tried to scoop and score. Three plays later, Newton found Olsen on a slant route to give Carolina a 14-7 lead they would never relinquish.
NATIONAL ANTHEM: Panthers safety Eric Reid continued to protest against social and racial injustice by kneeling before the national anthem. Also, several fans took a knee during the national anthem outside of the stadium in support of Reid’s cause.
Ravens starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley was helped off the field in the third quarter with a knee injury.
Ravens: Host Pittsburgh next Sunday.
Panthers: Host Tampa Bay next Sunday.