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12/23/2012 6:28 PM EST
Newton leads Panthers over Raiders 17-6
CAROLINA 17, OAKLAND 6

By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Cam Newton found himself apologizing
after Sunday's game.



It had nothing to do with his performance on the field, but
rather what he said as he angrily confronted referee Jerome
Boger that drew a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct in the
fourth quarter.



"The words that I said during the game were very disrespectful
and I apologized to him during the game, but I'm going public
and apologizing again," Newton said. "It was something in the
heat of the moment."



The second-year quarterback made up for it by throwing for 171
yards and a touchdown and running for 60 yards and another score
as the Carolina Panthers held off the Oakland Raiders 17-6 on
Sunday.



Newton's frustration stemmed from a heated game featuring
several shoving matches, plenty of verbal exchanges and six
unnecessary roughness penalties - including one that sidelined
Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer in the first quarter for the
rest of the day.



Newton's took exception to what he felt was a late hit by
Raiders safety Mike Mitchell with Carolina up 14-6.



"During the heat of the moment I felt as if he finished the hit
and I had already thrown the ball," Newton said. "I felt like
after he threw it he still finished and drove me into the
ground. With the referee right there I questioned his decision
not to throw the flag on him."



Boger said after the game he penalized Newton for
"disrespectfully addressing an official" and that he "misspoke"
when he announced that Newton was flagged for bumping an
official.



Boger said he didn't feel the bump was enough to warrant an
ejection.



"It wasn't of a malicious nature," Boger said.



Said Newton: "I have to learn to control what I can control."



Panthers coach Ron Rivera Newton said he told Newton he has to
learn to keep his emotions in check, although he added "he knows
that. He's an emotional guy and he wants to win in a bad way."



Defensive lineman Tommy Kelly admitted the Raiders were going
after Newton following Greg Hardy's hard hit to Palmer's back
that sidelined their starting quarterback.



"You take our guy out, we're going to go and try to take your
guy out," Kelly said. "We're not out to hurt someone, but when
that happens ..."



Coach Dennis Allen said Palmer was taken to the hospital after
the game, but X-rays on his ribs were negative.



Earlier in the game Newton appeared to kick Kelly as he got up
from being sacked. Kelly was penalized for unnecessary roughness
when he pushed back after the play.



"He kicked me," Kelly said. "I guess he thought I was trying to
do something to his leg, but I don't play like that. How are you
going to react if someone kicks you? Are you just going to take
it?"



With Palmer out, the Raiders' offense was rendered ineffective.



Carolina's defense limited the Raiders to 189 total yards and 12
first downs.



Newton and the Panthers staked to 14-3 lead at halftime and let
linebacker Luke Kuechly and the defense do the rest.



Palmer's replacement, Matt Leinart, managed only 115 yards
passing in three-plus quarters and was intercepted once by
Kuechly, setting up Carolina's second touchdown of the game.



"That's his first extended action in a regular-season game in a
long time, so I'm sure there was a little bit of rust there,"
Allen said of Leinart. "But, at the end of the day, when you
lose your starting quarterback, there are a lot of other guys
who have got to step up, and we didn't have enough guys that
make enough plays for us offensively."



Newton accounted for 231 of the 271 yards for the Panthers, who
have won four of their last five games under coach Ron Rivera.
It's unclear if that will be enough to save his job.



Rivera is 12-19 in two years as Carolina's coach.



The Raiders (4-11), losers of seven of eight, were held to 47
yards rushing on 22 carries. Their longest play was a 22-yard
reception by third-string quarterback Terrelle Pryor on a trick
play.



After being penalized for holding on the game's opening drive
nullifying a 76-yard touchdown run by DeAngelo Williams,
Panthers receiver Steve Smith hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass
from Newton on Carolina's second possession.



Newton added a 3-yard run to make it 14-3 before halftime.



Palmer left late in the first quarter.



After being flushed from the pocket, Palmer set up to throw when
Hardy came barreling into him from behind and delivered a
vicious blow to the middle of his back. Hardy was flagged for
unnecessary roughness and the Raiders received an automatic
first down, but lost Palmer for the day.



Carolina's defense held the Raiders to three points despite two
turnovers in Panthers territory - one coming on a Newton
interception and another on a fumbled punt return by Joe Adams.



NOTES: Kuechly finished with a game-high 13 tackles for the
Panthers. At one point he had six tackles in seven plays after
he got fired up when officials flagged him for hitting a
defenseless receiver. ... The Raiders were held to 47 yards
rushing. ... The Panthers have now equaled last year's win
total.



---



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