The Carolina Panthers have extended their winning start to the 2015 NFL season to 10 matches courtesy of a Cam Newton-inspired 44-16 victory over the Washington Redskins at the Bank of America Stadium this evening.
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It was in the first half that Newton really shone as the quarterback became the first Panthers player in history to throw four touchdown passes in a single half, starting off by linking up with Jonathan Stewart for a 12-yard score after Kirk Cousins had been intercepted by Kurt Coleman.
The Redskins managed to keep pace with Carolina in the first quarter, levelling things up shortly afterwards when Cousins found DeSean Jackson with a deep pass down the right for a 56-yard touchdown.
A dramatic final minute of the opening quarter then saw Newton pick out Mike Tolbert from three yards, only for Andre Roberts to return the resulting kickoff all the way for a 99-yard touchdown - the Redskins' second scoring kickoff return this season.
Newton found Ted Ginn Jr from two yards for his third touchdown pass of the game, although that was initially ruled incomplete before the decision was overturned on review.
With the Panthers play-caller in such good form he hardly needed any help, but the Redskins gifted possession straight back to their hosts when Thomas Davis recovered a Matt Jones fumble on the Washington nine-yard line.
That gave Newton the chance to hit his record-breaking fourth scoring pass of the half, and he duly obliged by linking up with Greg Olsen for the five-yard touchdown.
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A field goal from Graham Gano right at the end of the half sent Carolina in with a 17-point lead, and it didn't take long for that to be extended further as Newton equalled the Panthers' franchise record for touchdown passes in a single game.
Another kick from Gano nudged the Panthers further ahead before Washington committed their fourth fumble of the game, with Jordan Reed the guilty party on this occasion. Once again the turnover resulted in points, although they were limited to three as Gano knocked over another kick.
There was the smallest of consolations for the visitors late on when Brad Nortman was tackled in his own endzone for a safety, but it had no effect on the result as Carolina ran out comfortable winners.
The result extends the Panthers' winning streak in regular season games to 14, while the Redskins drop to 4-6 for the season.