Newton leads Panthers over Raiders 17-6

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 24, 2012 at 3:24 am •  Published: December 24, 2012
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton is looking ahead.

Forget that this is another lost season. The dynamic quarterback believes the Panthers can build on the success of having won four of their last five games.

"It's just something for the team's psyche," Newton said after a 17-6 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. "People ask, what are we playing for this year? It's a respect thing. It's pride. Every single person that's on this roster can say I'm not a quitter. I'm finishing and I'm setting up for something.

"We know what kind of team we are overall, as a whole and we're playing for hope," he added. "Is it too late? Some may say that, but I'm a part of a lot of teammates that aren't quitters and I'm proud to say that."

Of course, the Panthers won four of their last six last season and stumbled out of the gates this year amid high expectations in his second season at the helm.

Newton apologized after the win Sunday. It had nothing to do with his performance on the field, but rather what he said when he angrily confronted referee Jerome Boger and 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.

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 took exception with 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.

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