Panthers win, 23-20, lose Kuechly
Cam Newton threw for 192 yards and a touchdown and the host Panthers held off New Orleans’ fourthquarter rally to beat the Saints, 23-20, on Thursday night in a game marred by injuries to key players.
Newton was 14-for-33 and threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. to help Carolina (4-6) win for the third time in three games and pull even with New Orleans for third place in the NFC South.
Jonathan Stewart also ran for a touchdown, and Graham Gano had three field goals.
But the win didn’t come without a cost.
The Panthers lost former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly (concussion), two-time All-Pro center Ryan Kalil (shoulder), defensive end Mario Addison (foot) and cornerback Leonard Johnson (chest) to injuries. Kuechly left the field on a cart while tears streamed down his face.
The Saints lost running back Mark Ingram to a concussion in the third quarter.
The Panthers, who surrendered a 17-point lead and lost to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, entered the fourth quarter with a 23-3 lead before injuries set in.
Drew Brees, who was limited to 171 yards and no touchdowns in the first three quarters, rallied the Saints to within 23-20, connecting on touchdown passes to Brandon Coleman and Coby Fleener.
Brees threw for 285 yards.
That was a dramatic difference from the last time the two teams met on Oct. 16, when Brees threw for 465 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-38 win over the Panthers. Extra points: A new Harvard study says the NFL should stop using doctors paid by the team to determine whether players are able to come back from an injury. ... The Rams have broken ground on their billion-dollar stadium and its surrounding entertainment district on the former site of the Hollywood Park racetrack, next door to the famed Forum. The stadium, the first built specifically for an NFL team in Los Angeles, is scheduled to open in August 2019. ... Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel reached a deal with prosecutors for the conditional dismissal of a domestic assault case involving his former girlfriend. A judge set another hearing for Dec. 1, when the case could be settled. ... A win at San Francisco on Sunday would tie Tom Brady with Brett Favre for second place in career wins for a quarterback. Favre has 199, one fewer than all-time leader Peyton Manning. ... Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the idea of trading quarterback Tony Romo in the offseason now that he is backing up Dak Prescott “is not a consideration.” ... Dolphins center Mike Pouncey aggravated a hip injury that forced him to miss the first four weeks of the season, and he sat out practice, raising doubts about his status for Sunday’s game against the Rams. ... Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith missed his second straight practice, leaving his status against the Lions in question. Smith has been in Valdosta, Ga., since Monday, one day after his brother was shot and killed there.