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Jacksonville at Carolina

Newton comes through late, leads Panthers to first win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton overthrew receivers. He spent much of Sunday fighting to keep his grip on the football amid a torrential downpour that slowed the game to a crawl.

There were few of the big passing plays he made look so easy in his first two games, even fewer scoring chances, and more than enough reasons to get frustrated.

Instead, the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Carolina Panthers ignored it all and led the clutch drive that secured his first NFL victory, 16-10 over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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Newton found Greg Olsen over the middle for a 16-yard touchdown with 4:20 left to help the Panthers beat the Jaguars, giving coach Ron Rivera his first victory on the Carolina sideline.

Newton didn't come close to matching those 400-yard throwing days from each of his first two games, finishing 18 for 34 for 158 yards against the Jaguars and their own highly drafted rookie quarterback, Blaine Gabbert. It didn't matter, though, considering he had just earned his first victory since leading Auburn past Oregon in last season's BCS championship game.

"It wasn't a pretty win," Newton said, "but the last part counts, right?"

Newton didn't even crack the 100-yard passing mark until the final period. At least some blame went to the heavy rain that arrived in the second quarter, turning the field into a slick, puddle-filled mess, sending players hydroplaning and kicking up walls of water as they slid to the turf on tackles.

But after the rain let up in the third period, Newton directed a field-goal drive late in the period. Then he completed all three of his passes for 47 yards on the decisive drive. On his last throw, he went over the middle to Olsen, who broke free of a tackle by Daryl Smith and sprinted to the left side for the go-ahead touchdown.

Newton also found Olsen for the 2-point conversion that erased the 10-5 halftime deficit.

Olsen said Newton's demeanor never changed in the huddle.

"That's what makes him a winner and what makes him how successful he's been," Olsen said. "The circumstances we were in were tough. That's not an excuse. If you ask Jacksonville, they would say the same thing."

Gabbert, the 10th pick of the draft, threw for 139 yards in his starting debut. That included a 36-yard touchdown pass to Mike Thomas on the final play of the first half, leading to a steady series of boos from the drenched home fans who hadn't already fled to the safety of the concourse.

"It was a good start for him, considering it was a hurricane," said Maurice Jones-Drew, who rushed for 122 yards. "He's going to be a good quarterback, and we've got to continue to grow with him."

CBSSports.com Grades
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
C-
The Jaguars' defense played well the first three quarters and into the fourth, holding QB Cam Newton in check much of the game. Maurice Jones-Drew also had his biggest game of the season, rushing for 122 yards on 24 carries and was a step away from breakway touchdowns on several occasions. The downfall for the Jaguars came in the second half, when fumbled snaps and offensive ineffeciency hurt several drives.
By John Oesher
RapidReports Correspondent
Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers
C+
It was far from pretty and the monsoon-like conditions limited what the Panthers could do in the passing game, but they finally pulled out a game in the fourth quarter on a Greg Olsen touchdown. Cam Newton was limited to 158 yards passing, but his late scoring pass gave the Panthers a big lift heading into Chicago.
By Steve Reed
RapidReports Correspondent

Gabbert even had a chance to snatch the victory from Newton in the final minute, driving the Jaguars way to the Carolina 36-yard line in the final seconds. But linebacker Thomas Williams batted away Gabbert's final pass for Jason Hill as the clock expired.

Gabbert completed 12 of 21 passes and had three fumbled snaps -- the Jaguars recovered each one -- to go with an interception.

"We got the right look most of the day," Gabbert said. "We knew what they were going to do. We made the right calls, had the correct blocking. We just failed to execute."

The Panthers seriously considered taking Gabbert with the top pick before deciding on the Heisman Trophy winner out of Auburn. The decision has paid off so far, with Newton energizing the Charlotte area while giving the franchise the type of exciting player it has never really had.

"At times, the defense wasn't giving me the looks that we were wanting," Newton said. "That's one where you have to make up your decision in your mind as a quarterback: Are you going to force it to get a completion or are you just going to check it down to your backs? ... Today was a prime example of you just managing the game and just getting it to your backs and keeping the chains going."

Newton directed just one first-half scoring drive that ended with a field goal. But he avoided any turnovers after throwing three interceptions against Green Bay last week.

"He settled in and made some good decisions," Rivera said. "If he continues to do that, it gives us a chance to win. If we give ourselves a chance to win, I think we will win a few more."

Things didn't start out well for Gabbert. A penalty wiped out a chain-moving completion on his first throw and he ended up being tripped up in the end zone for a safety. His second drive ended with a third-down sack.

He got the Jaguars on the board by directing a field goal drive, aided by the Panthers jumping offside on a punt to give Jacksonville a first down after what was going to be a three-and-out. He also led the stunning scoring drive right before half, with Thomas catching a long pass from Gabbert and leaping across the goal line through the heavy rain as time expired for the 10-5 lead.

Notes

  • Carolina cornerback Chris Gamble left the game in the second quarter with an unspecified injury. He did not return.
  • Jacksonville running back Montell Owens left the game with a knee injury on a third-quarter kickoff return.
  • Jacksonville played without defensive ends Aaron Kampman (knee) and Matt Roth (neck) and receiver Kassim Osgood (hamstring).
  • Carolina S Charles Godfrey (concussion) was also inactive.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Sun. Sept. 25Final
0100010
233816
JaguarsPanthers
Pass: B. Gabbert (12-21, 139) C. Newton (18-34, 158)
Rush: M. Jones-Drew (24-122) J. Stewart (10-59)
Rec: M. Thomas (4-55) G. Olsen (7-57)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
SAFETYGreg Hardy, 7:33.
2ND QUARTER
FGOlindo Mare, 35 Yd, 14:12. Drive: 7 plays, 32 yards in 3:11.
FGJosh Scobee, 53 Yd, 7:41. Drive: 12 plays, 45 yards in 6:31.
TDMike Thomas, 36 Yd pass from Blaine Gabbert (Josh Scobee kick is good), 0:00. Drive: 3 plays, 77 yards in 0:53.
3RD QUARTER
FGOlindo Mare, 32 Yd, 2:24. Drive: 7 plays, 24 yards in 4:07.
4TH QUARTER
TDGreg Olsen, 16 Yd pass from Cam Newton (Cam Newton pass to Greg Olsen for 2 Pt. Conversion), 4:20. Drive: 5 plays, 55 yards in 2:24.
Players of the Game
Carolina

G. Olsen
Rec 7
Yds 57
Avg 8.1
TD 1
Oakland

M. Jones-Drew
Rush 24
Yds 122
Avg 5.1
TD 0
 
Jacksonville
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
B. Gabbert12/2113911
RushingATTYDSTDLG
M. Jones-Drew24122039
D. Karim5407
B. Gabbert4202
M. Turk1000
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
M. Thomas455136
M. Jones-Drew345024
D. Karim219014
M. Lewis21509
J. Hill1505
Carolina
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
C. Newton18/3415810
RushingATTYDSTDLG
J. Stewart1059020
C. Newton72707
D. Williams101805
J. Felton1303
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
G. Olsen757116
J. Shockey330016
J. Stewart326018
D. Williams217011
S. Smith215013
L. Naanee113013
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
NE 31 Final
BUF 34
SF 13 Final
CIN 8
MIA 16 Final
CLE 17
DET 26 Final
MIN 23
HOU 33 Final
NO 40
NYG 29 Final
PHI 16
DEN 14 Final
TEN 17
NYJ 24 Final
OAK 34
KC 17 Final
SD 20
BAL 37 Final
STL 7
GB 27 Final
CHI 17
ARI 10 Final
SEA 13
ATL 13 Final
TB 16
PIT 23 Final
IND 20
WAS 16 Final
DAL 18