Panthers Rip Mistake-Prone Chargers 31-7

USA TODAY Sports

Several Panthers had a homecoming today as the Panthers visited San Diego and they made the most of it. Leading the charge was FB Mike Tolbert who ran for 40 yards and scored two TD's on 9 carries. WR Steve Smith with extended family in attendance, cracked the 1,000 yard mark for the season with a TD and 57 yards on 6 receptions.

Cam Newton continued his fine play going 19 for 33 for 232 yards and two TDs. Most important was his streak of passes without a turnover and his ability to protect the football even when getting sacked. Newton has now surpassed 150 passes with no INTs.

RB DeAngelo Williams continued his good work, showing how productive a #1 RB can be in Carolina when not platooning. Williams got 22 carries for 93 yards but the killer play was again the short pass. Williams took a tipped pass for 45 yards and a TD to score for the 2nd week in a row.

On defense the Panther pass rush was fierce all afternoon. DEs Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy both logged two sacks and a forced fumble that the Panthers recovered. LB Thomas Davis led the team with 10 combined tackles (9 solo). LB Luke Kuechly had a more normal day only getting 8 combined tackles (5 solo).

So after putting up 21 points in the first quarter the fast-starting Panthers turned to the run in the 2nd half and wore down the Charger defense. The Charger offense couldn't get untracked except when handed a gift field position on a Panther fumble. Their first half drives were ruined by penalties, poor execution and fumbles. This game was all Panthers from the coin toss.

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