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Panthers come alive, humble Giants, 38-0

Carolina Panthers' Brandon LaFell (11) celebrates his touchdown catch against the New York Giants with teammate Ted Ginn (19) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Carolina Panthers' Brandon LaFell (11) celebrates his touchdown catch against the New York Giants with teammate Ted Ginn (19) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Cam Newton threw three touchdown passes and ran for another, and Carolina sacked Eli Manning seven times as the Panthers handed Tom Coughlin his worst defeat as coach of the New York Giants, 38-0 yesterday.

It was the largest margin of victory in Panthers history.

The Panthers (1-2) allowed Newton to run out of the read option, which helped open up an offense that had been mostly stagnant this season. Newton had 223 yards passing and threw two touchdown passes to Brandon LaFell and one to Ted Ginn Jr. He ran for 45 yards and his first TD of the season.

The Giants are in trouble: Of the 161 teams that have started the season 0-3 since 1978, only five made the NFL playoffs, according to STATS LLC.

The Giants came in with only 73 yards rushing in their first two games and managed just 60 yards on the ground. Manning, under pressure all day long, finished 12-of-23 for 119 yards with two interceptions.

BENGALS 34, PACKERS 30

Terence Newman returned a fumble 58 yards for a touchdown with 3:47 left, rallying Cincinnati past Green Bay in a game of wild momentum swings set up by nonstop turnovers.

Each team gave it away four times. Each team returned a fumble for a touchdown – M.D. Jennings ran one back for Green Bay (1-2). The Bengals blew a 14-point lead, and the Packers let a 16-point lead get away in the second half.

The Bengals (2-1) finished it off when Michael Johnson batted down Aaron Rodgers’s fourth-down pass at the Cincinnati 20-yard line with 1:21 left, ending a subpar showing for the quarterback.

The Bengals defense made the difference as Rodgers was 26-of-43 for 244 yards with a touchdown, but was sacked four times and threw two interceptions.

SAINTS 31, CARDINALS 7

Drew Brees passed for three scores and scrambled for New Orleans’s first rushing touchdown of the season in a victory over Arizona.

The Saints quarterback was 29-of-46 for 342 yards, with two TD strikes to tight end Jimmy Graham and the other to Robert Meachem.

Brees was intercepted once by New Orleans native and former LSU star Tyrann Mathieu. That play ended a scoring threat, but only delayed the inevitable on a day when Arizona’s shorthanded defense was little match for the prolific passing attack of the Saints (3-0).

Arizona (1-2) had no answer for the 6-foot-7 Graham, who caught nine passes for 134 yards.

COWBOYS 31, RAMS 7

DeMarco Murray ran for 175 yards and a touchdown two years after torching St. Louis with a franchise record as a rookie, and Tony Romo threw for three scores in Dallas’s rout.

Murray had his first 100-yard game in more than a year.

The Cowboys (2-1) sacked Sam Bradford four times in the first half and had six overall after St. Louis (1-2) hadn’t allowed a sack in four games, dating to last season. It was the Rams’ longest streak since John Hadl was under center for a division champion in 1973.

Bradford went 29-for-48 and wasn’t intercepted.

DeMarcus Ware had two sacks and broke Harvey Martin’s 30-year-old franchise record of 114.

RAVENS 30, TEXANS 9

Daryl Smith had a 37-yard interception return for a TD, Tandon Doss took a punt 82 yards for another score, and Baltimore smothered Houston’s high-powered offense.

The Ravens (2-1) won despite playing without Ray Rice for the first time since 2008. The three-time Pro Bowl running back was replaced by Bernard Pierce, who ran for 65 yards and a touchdown.

Houston (2-1) led 6-3 before Smith picked off Matt Schaub’s pass and took it into the end zone with 2:39 left in the first half. Less than two minutes later, Doss had his first punt return for a touchdown.

LIONS 27, REDSKINS 20

Matthew Stafford completed 25 of 42 passes for 385 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, and Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson both had 100 yards receiving for Detroit, which beat Washington on the road for the first time since 1939.

The Lions (2-1) ended a 21-game streak against the Redskins, the second-longest in NFL history. Detroit’s last win away from home in the series came in 1935 against the Boston Redskins, two years before the move to Washington.

Robert Griffin III (32-of-50 for 326 yards) and the defending NFC East champion Redskins fell to 0-3.

TITANS 20, CHARGERS 17

Jake Locker helped Tennessee end a skid against the San Diego that spanned two states and two decades.

Locker threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to rookie Justin Hunter with 15 seconds left and the Titans (2-1) rallied to beat the Chargers (1-2).

It was their first win over the Chargers for the franchise since 1992 when the team was in Houston and Titans Coach Mike Munchak still was playing for the then-Oilers.

The Titans had lost nine straight to San Diego.

BROWNS 31, VIKINGS 27

Jordan Cameron caught three touchdown passes, including the go-ahead grab in the back of the end zone with 51 seconds left, and Cleveland kept Minnesota winless.

Third-stringer Brian Hoyer threw for three scores for the Browns (1-2), the latest team to torch Minnesota’s depleted secondary. He overcame three interceptions to throw for 321 yards, going 30-for-54. Josh Gordon had 10 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown in his season debut, and Cameron had six receptions for 66 yards.

Christian Ponder ran for two touchdowns for the Vikings (0-3), but he threw an interception, lost a fumble and took his sixth sack on the final play of the game.

COLTS 27, 49ERS 7

Andrew Luck threw for 164 yards and ran for a 6-yard touchdown while facing college coach Jim Harbaugh for the first time, and Indianapolis defeated San Francisco.

Trent Richardson scored a 1-yard touchdown on his first carry in his Colts debut after being acquired on Wednesday from the Browns. Ahmad Bradshaw added a 1-yard TD run in the final minutes, and Adam Vinatieri kicked a pair of field goals before missing a 51-yarder early in the fourth.

SEAHAWKS 45, JAGUARS 17

Russell Wilson matched his career high with four touchdown passes – two each to Sidney Rice and Zach Miller – and Seattle overwhelmed Jacksonville.

The Seahawks improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2006, beginning a stretch of four straight games against the AFC South. Seattle came in as a 19-point favorite and never gave Jacksonville (0-3) a chance.

Wilson checked out with 3:54 left in the third and finished 14-of-21 for 202 yards. The four TD passes matched his performance last December in a win over San Francisco.

DOLPHINS 27, FALCONS 23

Ryan Tannehill lobbed a 1-yard touchdown pass to rookie Dion Sims with 38 seconds left, and unbeaten Miami rallied past Atlanta.

The score capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive after Atlanta’s Matt Bryant missed a 35-yard field goal attempt with 4:46 left. Jimmy Wilson intercepted Matt Ryan to seal the victory.

Miami fell behind 10-0 and 20-10 and trailed much of the game, but nonetheless improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2002. The injury-plagued Falcons, who were one play from the Super Bowl last season, fell to 1-2.

Tannehill finished 24-for-35 for 236 yards and two scores. He shook off two turnovers and five sacks, and was at his best at the end of each half.

JETS 27, BILLS 20

Geno Smith threw two touchdown passes, including a go-ahead 69-yarder to Santonio Holmes in the fourth quarter, and New York overcame a team-record 20 penalties to hang on and beat Buffalo in an ugly game.

Smith slightly outplayed EJ Manuel in a matchup of the first two quarterbacks selected in the NFL draft in April. But this one was tough to watch at times with the barrage of penalties. The Jets (2-1) rolled up 168 yards in penalty yardage, and nearly gave it away against the Bills (1-2).

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