Newton throws, rushes Panthers past Falcons
Cam Newton passed for 287 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 116 yards and another score as host Carolina snapped a five-game losing streak against Atlanta.
Steve Smith had seven catches for 109 yards for the Panthers, and DeAngelo Williams added 126 total yards and a touchdown. Matt Ryan passed for 342 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the NFC South champion Falcons (11-2), who are still in position for the top seed in the NFC playoffs.
With the exception of a kneel-down at the end of the first half, the Panthers (4-9) scored on their first five possessions with Newton's 72-yard touchdown run giving them a 23-0 lead with 11:13 left in the third quarter. The Falcons rallied from a 23-7 deficit to win 30-28 in the first meeting this season, but they couldn't finish the comeback this time.
After getting within 23-13 on touchdown passes of 4 yards to Roddy White and 11 yards to Julio Jones, the Falcons drove into Carolina territory again, but Thomas Davis intercepted a Ryan pass on fourth-and-4 to thwart the rally.
On the next possession, Williams took a short screen pass and went 53 yards for a score to seal it.
GAME NOTEBOOK: The Panthers have won just three of the past 11 meetings with the Falcons. … Carolina's rushing totals of 199 and 195 are the two highest totals Atlanta has allowed this season. … Newton became the first quarterback in team history with 100 rushing yards in a game.