The game was brutal and and at times a little ugly for both teams, but in the end the Panthers were able to close out a win. Newton finished the game with 1 TD from rushing and passing each putting the Panthers ahead 14 - 3 at the half. It wasn't a pretty game though. Countless personal foul penalties marred both sides of the ball, some justified and some not so much. In particular, Cam Newton was getting a little hot under the collar, being involved in an early altercation with some Raiders players and then later foolishly getting into the face of a referee which cost him more yards. There were some pretty bad calls to go along with this though.. Luke Kuechly was called for a phantom personal foul for leading with his helmet on a solid fundamental tackle, but the Raiders were victimized by a similar call later on in the quarter. Additionally, Greg Hardy will likely be losing a little bit of his paycheck for a helmet-led tackle on Carson Palmer's backside that knocked him out of the game early. All in all, the Panthers had 10 penalties for a staggering 97 yards while the Raiders added 6 penalties of their own for 70 yards. Yikes...
On a more positive front, the young tackling monster Luke Kuechly was all over the field in yet another stunning display, leading the team with 13 tackles, 9 solo, a tackle for a loss, 2 passes defended, and an INT that ended a dangerous drive by the Raiders. It was another monstrous stat line for Kuechly, a sight that we've become happily familiar with throughout the season. He wasn't alone though. Thomas Davis continues to be nothing short of inspirational as he was also making plays all over the field finishing with 8 tackles of his own, 5 of them solo and 1 tackle for a loss. Collectively, the Panthers defense managed to hold one of the best RBs in league, Darren McFadden, to just 33 yards on 17 carries for under 2 ypc.
As ugly as it might have been, a win is a win though and the Panthers managed to overcome two turnovers (an INT by Newton and a fumble by rookie Joe Adams), a feat they have yet to accomplish before, and pull out a victory against the Oakland Raiders. We're now 6-9 on the season and will certainly finish no worse than we did last season.
Cam Newton - 18/29, 170 yards, 1 TD passing, 1 INT, 60 rushing yards, and 1 rushing TD.
Luke Kuechly - 13 tackles, 9 solo, 1 TFL, 2 passes defended, 1 INT
Greg Olsen - 6 receptions, 53 yards
Steve Smith - 4 receptions, 45 yards, 1 TD