CHARLOTTE (AP) — An unstoppable Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers got their revenge Sunday on the Atlanta Falcons.
Four days after Carolina defensive end Kevin Hardy promised “payback” and “punishment” for the Falcons, Newton threw for 287 yards and scored on a 72-yard run in a 30-20 victory.
Despite playing without four starters and having 13 players on injured reserve, the struggling Panthers dominated the NFC South champions. Newton piled up a career-high 116 yards on the ground and the Panthers racked up 475 yards overall, avenging a Week 4 loss to Atlanta and snapping a five-game losing streak to their Interstate 85 rivals.
It was Newton’s first victory in four tries over his hometown team and he admitted after the game it was a special feeling.
“I think this game allows me to have a little chip on my shoulder,” Newton said.
Carolina’s defense was superb through 2½ quarters, helping build a 23-0 lead and a 356-86 edge in total yards.
Carolina (4-9) came in with little to play for except to gain a measure of revenge on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, whom they felt disrespected them after Atlanta’s 30-28 come-from-behind win on Sept. 30.
Hardy was upset when television cameras caught Ryan cursing at the Panthers sideline, telling them to get off the Falcons’ field. Hardy responded by saying last week the Panthers were a “better team” than the Falcons, adding a variety of trash talk.
After Sunday’s win Hardy turned the tables on the Falcons, repeating several times what Ryan told them back in Week 4 as he walked off the field. At one point Falcons kicker Matt Bryant returned fire at Hardy, saying “Watch us in January.”
Hardy left the locker room before reporters were allowed in.
Ryan downplayed the war of words.
“I don’t pay too much attention to it,” said Ryan, who threw for 342 yards and two scores with one interception. “They were better than us today, that’s for sure. They came out and played better than us. We’re in a position in our season where we’ve got everything right in front of us, and we need to get back to work and worry about that.”
REDSKINS 31, RAVENS 28
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — With Robert Griffin III sidelined with a sprained right knee, the Washington Redskins rallied behind backup Kirk Cousins to tie the game in the final minute of regulation, then Kai Forbath kicked a 34-yard field goal in overtime for a 31-28 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
Griffin was hurt at the end of a 13-yard scramble while attempting to lead the game-tying drive with the Redskins trailing 28-20. He left for one play, returned for four, then was no longer able to continue.
Cousins stepped in and hit Pierre Garcon for an 11-yard touchdown pass, then ran in the 2-point conversion with 29 seconds to play.
The Redskins have won four straight to improve to 7-6. The Ravens lost back-to-back games for the first time since 2009 and fell to 9-4.
Former Richmond Senior standout Dannell Ellerbe was inactive for the second straight week with an ankle injury.
CHARGERS 34, STEELERS 24
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes, two to Danario Alexander, and the San Diego Chargers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-24.
The win was San Diego’s first in 15 regular-season visits to Pittsburgh and snapped a four-game losing streak. The Chargers (5-8) dominated from the outset, never letting Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger get comfortable in his first game in nearly a month.
Roethlisberger completed 22 of 42 passes for 285 yards and three second-half touchdowns. But he also threw an interception and had a botched screen pass turn into an easy San Diego score as Pittsburgh (7-6) hardly played like a team readying for a postseason run.
Former Richmond Senior star Melvin Ingram was credited with a tackle and returned a kick for minus 1 yard.