Panthers 27, Buccaneers 6: Cam Newton passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another as host Carolina cruised to its franchise-best eighth consecutive victory.
Newton was 18-of-29 for 263 yards and rushed for game-high 68 yards on five carries for the Panthers (9-3), who moved within one-half game of NFC South leader New Orleans. Carolina turned in another stellar defensive effort, holding Tampa Bay to 206 total yards, sacking Mike Glennon five times and forcing two turnovers.
Glennon was 14-of-21 for 180 yards with a fumble and an interception for the Buccaneers (3-9), who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Bobby Rainey rushed for a team-high 63 yards and Vincent Jackson caught three passes for 75 yards.
Tampa Bay trailed 7-6 and appeared to be driving for a go-ahead score early in the second quarter when Glennon rolled out to his left and lost the ball in his passing motion, allowing Dwan Edwards to recover for Carolina. The Panthers cashed in with a field goal, then forced a punt and went 49 yards in seven plays, with Newton scoring on fourth-and-goal from the 1 for a 17-6 halftime lead.
Newton hooked up with Ted Ginn Jr. for a 36-yard scoring strike early in the third quarter and Graham Gano tacked on his second field goal of the day in the fourth. Newton also threw a 16-yard TD pass to Brandon LaFell in the first quarter, which was set up by his 56-yard scramble - the second-longest run of his career.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Glennon has 1,962 passing yards, surpassing Josh Freeman's franchise rookie record of 1,855 set in 2009. … Panthers WR Steve Smith had three catches for 51 yards, extending his franchise record of consecutive games with a reception to 103. … Ginn's touchdown catch was his fourth of the season and LaFell's TD grab in the first quarter was his fifth, representing career highs for both Carolina receivers.