TAMPA, Fla. — Cam Newton threw for 154 yards and one touchdown and Carolina’s defense didn’t allow a TD for the second straight week, helping the Panthers snap a two-game losing streak with a 17-3 victory over the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Newton rebounded from a subpar performance in a 14-point road loss to the Chicago Bears, leading a 17-play, 82-yard TD drive that consumed more eight minutes of the opening quarter, then completed three passes to Christian McCaffrey to set up a field goal for a 10-0 halftime lead.
The Bucs (2-5) have lost four straight.
The Panthers put the game away in the fourth quarter, intercepting Jameis Winston twice, with Mike Adams’ pick leading to Newton’s 25-yard TD pass to Kelvin Benjamin to make it 17-3.
Carolina’s defense picked up where it left off in only allowing three points against Chicago, which returned a fumble and interception for the only touchdowns in a 17-3 victory that knocked Carolina (5-3) out of first place in the NFC South.
The Panthers forced three turnovers by Winston, limiting the Bucs to Patrick Murray’s 41-field goal in the third quarter.
Linebacker Luke Kuechly returned for Carolina and had a fourth-quarter interception after sitting out the previous week with a concussion.
Julius Peppers sacked Winston in the second quarter, forcing a fumble and moving ahead of Hall of Famer Chris Doleman for fourth on the career sack list with 151.
Newton completed 18 of 32 passes and was intercepted once. He rushed for a team-high 44 yards, including a 20-yard burst on the drive he finished with his TD pass to Benjamin.
The Panthers converted five third downs on the long scoring drive that led to Jonathan Stewart’s 1-yard TD run.
Winston, who continues to play with a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder, was 21 of 38 for 210 yards with two interceptions. Doug Martin rushed for 71 yards on 18 attempts for the Bucs.
Panthers: None reported during the game.
Buccaneers: Played without starting CBs Brent Grimes (shoulder) and Robert McClain (concussion).
Panthers: Return home to face division rival Atlanta, a matchup of the last two teams to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Buccaneers: Play on the road for the third time in four weeks, traveling to New Orleans.