Newton leads unbeaten Panthers to 27-10 win over Titans
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Cam Newton did an end zone dance, struck a pose and then took his celebration to a corner where visiting Carolina fans were waiting.
Life is good when you're the quarterback of an undefeated team.
The Panthers (9-0) extended their regular-season win streak to 13 games. They are the NFC's last unbeaten team and host Washington next Sunday.
The Titans (2-7) suffered their 10th straight home loss in the first home game under interim coach Mike Mularkey. Even so, Newton said he was careful to avoid what he feared could be a ''trap game'' against the Titans, who were coming off a win at New Orleans.
''The stakes were high and they're going to get higher each and every week,'' he said. ''We know we're going to get teams' best.''
Mularkey said he thought Newton's dances could draw penalties for taunting. Titans linebacker Avery Williamson said ''I don't like it personally.''
''He wants to be the man, so he wants to celebrate because he scored,'' Williamson said. ''But I don't personally go for that stuff.''
Other Tennessee players said Newton's celebration is just part of the game. Newton said it is not intended to be insulting - even though it led to a brawl last season against the Saints.
Newton didn't break out his Superman dance. Instead, he said it was a dance he called ''dabbin'' that was inspired by his younger brother.
''I just like doing it,'' Newton said. ''It's not to be boastful. And from the crowd's response they like seeing it. I'm doing it because good things have happened and I hope to keep doing it. No disrespect to anybody, though.''
Newton completed 21 of 26 passes for 217 yards, including a 1-yard scoring pass to Ed Dickson early in the second quarter. He had a 2-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter, leading to his dance.
Tennessee rookie Marcus Mariota was 16 for 24 for 185 yards and an interception. The Titans had only one first down in the second half until their final possession, which ended with a catch and lost fumble by McCluster.
''We stuck with them for three quarters and just let it slip away,'' McCluster said.
The Titans converted only 5 of 12 third downs.
''We knew coming in it was going to be a tough battle but we left a lot of points out there,'' Mariota said.
Here are some things to know about the Panthers' win over the Titans:
QUICK TURNAROUND: Tennessee will have little rest before playing at Jacksonville on Thursday night. Mularkey said the team will have a walk-through practice on Monday.
''It's a challenge physically, obviously,'' Mularkey said. ''This is something we've got to get over very quickly, obviously.''
MORE INJURIES: Tennessee WR Justin Hunter was carted off the field with an apparent right ankle injury late in the game. ''I don't know the exact specifics, but it's not good,'' Mularkey said.
Hunter shared the team lead with four catches for 47 yards.
The Titans' secondary took another hit. Starting cornerbacks Perrish Cox and Jason McCourty were inactive due to injuries. Bidi Wreh-Wilson, who started for Cox, left the game early in the second half with a hamstring injury.
STRONG FINISH: After sloppy finishes in their last two wins over the Colts and Packers, the Panthers outscored the Titans 13-0 in the second half. Carolina's defense allowed only 11 first downs, including only three in the second half. The Panthers capped the dominating performance by forcing a fumble on Tennessee's final possession.
NO COBB: Titans rookie RB David Cobb was inactive after coming off the injured reserve-designated to return list this week. Tennessee, held to 64 yards rushing, could have used a boost. Antonio Andrews had 11 carries for eight yards.
RUNNING STRONG: The Panthers were held below their league-leading average of 142.3 yards rushing per game, but it was still a good day. They finished with 119 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Jonathan Stewart had 22 carries for 91 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
The Titans couldn't stop TE Greg Olsen, who had eight catches - on eight targets - for 80 yards.
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