|Newton throws for 2 TDs, Panthers beat Bucs 31-13|
|Thursday, October 24, 2013 8:24 PM|
By FRED GOODALL
TAMPA, Fla. — Cam Newton is playing some of the best football of his career and the surging Carolina Panthers are back over .500 for the first time in five years.
The Panthers (4-3) won for the fourth time in five games following an 0-2 start. They've won three straight, with Newton throwing for 667 yards, six TDs and no interceptions.
The Bucs (0-7), one of two NFL teams yet to win, have dropped the first seven games in a season for the seventh time in franchise history. They've lost 12 out of 13 dating to last year; some fans showed up at Raymond James Stadium carrying signs and wearing paper bags over their heads urging that second-year coach Greg Schiano be fired.
Newton tossed a 1-yard TD pass to Greg Olsen in the first quarter and added a 3-yarder to Mike Tolbert on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 28-6 lead.
Newton had his way against the Bucs in between those scores, too, setting up a nifty 12-yard TD run by DeAngelo Williams and getting into the end zone himself with a 6-yard run midway through the third quarter.
The third-year quarterback completed 23 of 32 passes for 221 yards. He also rushed for a team-high 50 yards on 11 attempts.
Newton completed 81.4 percent of his passes for 446 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions over the previous two games — lopsided victories over Minnesota and St. Louis. He set the tone for another efficient performance, going 7-of-8 for 57 yards on Carolina's opening drive and finishing the nearly 9-minute, 15-play, 70-yard march with his TD pass to Olsen.