Cardinals defense stifles Panthers

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 06, 2013
The Cardinals gave Cam Newton a rough reception in his return to Arizona. Newton, back at the site of his BCS championship performance and his NFL debut, was sacked seven times, once for a safety, and threw three interceptions. Arizona used a dominating defensive performance to beat the Carolina Panthers 22-6 on Sunday. Daryl Washington, back after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, had two sacks and an interception for Arizona (3-2). Calais Campbell had two sacks, one for Arizona's first regular-season safety in nine years, the other forcing a game-clinching fumble. Karlos Dansby also had two sacks and an interception. Carolina (1-3), playing for the first time since a 38-0 victory over the New York Giants two weeks ago, managed only Graham Gano's field goals from 22 and 51 yards. Arizona's Carson Palmer threw for a touchdown but was intercepted three times. Jay Feely, who had a 42-yard field goal for Arizona's only points of the first half, kicked a 50-yarder to make it 15-6 with 3:38 to play. The Cardinals, who outscored Carolina 19-0 in the second half, clinched it when Campbell sacked Newton and the ball popped free. Antoine Cason picked it up and ran 40 yards to the Carolina 9. Palmer connected with Jim Dray for a 7-yard score, the big tight end's first career touchdown, to make it 22-6 with 2:23 remaining. The Panthers had four dropped passes, two of them by the normally reliable Steve Smith, and were penalized nine times for 79 yards. Their running game, ranked third in the NFL coming in, managed just 95 yards, only 21 in the second half. Andre Ellington's 26-yard run set up the Cardinals' first touchdown. Rashard Mendenhall scored from the 1 to put Arizona ahead for the first time, 10-6, with 5:48 left in the third quarter. After the kickoff, a taunting penalty on Jordan Senn and an offensive pass interference call on Smith pushed Carolina to its 5-yard line. Newton faded into the end zone and was sacked by Campbell, and the Cardinals led 12-6 with 5:28 to go in the third. After the ensuing free kick, Arizona had it at the Carolina 48 when Luke Kuechly intercepted Palmer and returned it 30 yards to the Cardinals 29. The Panthers moved from there to the 5, where on third-and-3, Washington picked off Newton's pass and rambled 41 yards to midfield. Newton was 14 for 21 for 215 yards in the first half but couldn't get the Panthers in the end zone. Gano's 51-yard field goal as the half ended put Carolina up 6-3. Patrick Peterson intercepted Newton's pass intended for Smith at the Cardinals 1-yard line and scrambled 43 yards to the 44. Completions to Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Ellington moved Arizona to the Panthers 23. But Palmer overthrew Fitzgerald over the middle, and Mike Mitchell intercepted in the end zone with 34 seconds left in the half. That was plenty of time for the Panthers, who got a 20-yard run by fullback Mike Tolbert and a pair of completions by Newton. After a holding penalty negated Graham's 41-yard field goal, he nailed the 51-yarder to put the Panthers up by three at the break.
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