CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Jonathan Stewart ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns, Thomas Davis returned a fumble 46 yards for a score and the Carolina Panthers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 30-20 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
In a game reminiscent of last season's NFC championship, a 49-15 Carolina victory, the Panthers jumped to a 24-0 lead and kept the pressure on Carson Palmer all day.
Carolina, which has struggled to generate a pass rush all season, sacked Palmer eight times - three of those by Star Lotulelei - and forced two turnovers. The Panthers also limited running back David Johnson to 24 yards rushing.
Forced into a one-dimensional game, Palmer finished 35 of 46 for 363 yards with three touchdowns, two to J.J. Nelson.
After losing their last two games on last-second field goals, the Panthers left no doubt about this one.
Carolina (2-5) needed a boost to save a sinking season and got one from Davis, their longest-tenured player and emotional leader, on the opening series. Lotulelei sacked Palmer, who attempted to push the ball forward to avoid the sack while in the grasp of the 315-pound defensive tackle. Davis picked up the loose ball and delivered a stiff arm on the way to the first touchdown of his 12-year NFL career.
Davis later left with a left knee injury.
Stewart added touchdown runs of 2 and 1 yards to push the lead to 21-0 against an Arizona defense that hadn't allowed a touchdown in its previous two games.
The Cardinals (3-4-1) battled back within 30-20 and had the ball at the Carolina 36 with 3:18 left. But defensive end Kony Ealy tipped Palmer's pass and intercepted it to help seal the Carolina win.
NEWTON ON THE RUN: Cam Newton said last week he wasn't afraid to run after being knocked out with a concussion against the Falcons on Oct. 2, and he proved it Sunday. Newton ran six times for 39 yards.
WHAT BROWN CAN DO FOR YOU: Arizona wide receiver John Brown, who missed last week's game against Seattle because of leg issues related to a sickle-cell trait, caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Palmer in the third quarter.
CORNERBACK ROTATION: Nickel cornerback Leonard Johnson gave the Carolina defense a big boost in his first game. Johnson, activated from the non-football injury list last week, had eight tackles, one sack and a pass breakup.
FRUSTRATION SETS IN: Frustration got the best of Palmer in the third quarter when he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct in the third quarter when he argued an illegal hands to the face call against a teammate, resulting in a 15-yard penalty and a second-and-44.
Cardinals: Safety Tyrann Mathieu left in the first half with a shoulder injury and did not return. Left tackle Jared Veldheer departed in the fourth quarter with an arm injury.
Panthers: Two-time All-Pro center Ryan Kalil (right shoulder) and did not return.
UP NEXT: The Panthers travel to Los Angeles next Sunday. The Cardinals have a bye.
© 2017 Associated Press