Panthers take prettyish win into 2nd round playoff game

Carolina tosses Arizona aside, 27-16


* Video – Kuechly interception

CHARLOTTE — At times, it wasn’t pretty. At other times, nothing looked better.

The Panthers emerged with a 27-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in an NFC Wild Card playoff on Saturday at Bank of America Stadium and advance to play either Green Bay or defending champion Seattle next week..

largeA 47-yard Graham Gano field goal and a 13-yard touchdown run by running back Jonathan Stewart gave the Panthers a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.

Arizona then took advantage of two Carolina turnovers to take the lead. After Brenton Bersin muffed a punt, tight end Darren Fells caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Lindley. Then, after cornerback Antonio Cromartie picked off Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, Cardinals running back Marion Grice scored a 1-yard touchdown.

The Panthers then scored 17 unanswered points.

Gano converted a 39-yard field goal just before halftime. Running back Fozzy Whittakerturned a screen pass into a 39-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Following Arizona wide receiver Ted Ginn’s lost fumble during the ensuing kick return, Newton found fullback Mike Tolbert for a 1-yard touchdown to give the Panthers a 27-14 lead late in the third quarter.

Arizona threatened to cut into the deficit after forcing and recovering a Newton fumble deep in Carolina territory in the fourth quarter. But linebacker Luke Kuechly intercepted Lindley’s pass on the very next play.

Kuechly helped seal the win in the closing minutes by deflecting a pass that rookie safety Tre Boston intercepted in the end zone.

Filed in: Latest Headlines, Sports

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