Cam Newton, Panthers Outduel Case Keenum, Vikings in 31-24 Win


At 10-2, Minnesota is in the thick of the race for the No. 1 NFC playoff slot.

And the Vikings have plans for Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. And No.99 would add another sack on the Vikings' last offensive possession.

The Panthers, who hadn't trailed all game, led by 11 midway through the fourth quarter. Keenum weathered the storm and was dynamic with his ability to scramble and extend plays with his legs, finishing with 40 rushing yards and going 27-of-44 passing for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Minnesota's defense entered the game second in the National Football League by allowing just 77.7 yards per game on the ground and were tied for third in the National Football League, giving up only 3.5 yards per carry.

Stewart averaged an astonishing 6.4 yards per carry on the day, and was a large reason the Panthers won. They finished with 216 yards on the ground, with Newton finishing with 70 himself.

So he contends that his former college and Vikings teammate Everson Griffen might remember him, but a different version. It was just a matter of running fast. "He's a big guy". Carolina's defense forced Minnesota and Keenum into bad decisions. This team entered Sunday ranked sixth in total yards while allowing the second-fewest sacks in the NFL. The Detroit Lakes native played his college ball at Minnesota State and has gone from an undrafted free agent to a bona fide star.

"They are very, very comfortable in their scheme", Newton said.

Another part of the play: Once Stewart got past the initial defensive line, there should have been a safety there to stop him, or at least slow him down. Between the pressure he just faced against the Saints and the eight sacks he absorbed from the Vikings defense past year, Newton might be doing cartwheels during Sunday's warmups in addition to his weekly handshakes.

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"I have to do a better job of getting the ball out of my hands", Newton said.

"I watched it here for years with [former Panthers left tackle] Jordan Gross". Linebacker Luke Kuechly said "we have to win them all", referring to a stretch that also includes home games against Green Bay Dec. 17 and Tampa Bay Dec. 24.

Carolina took on New Orleans last week are were soundly beaten 31-21. Vikings punt Ryan Quigley had a nice punt covered down at the two yard line, and Marcus Sherels had a nice 29-return to give the Vikings good field position, but he also fumbled one that nearly went to the opposition.

At 8-5, the Falcons remain division contenders, especially with games against the Saints on December 24 and the Panthers in the regular-season finale on December 31 remaining. "He did what he does to keep his team in the game".

The Saints close with the New York Jets, Falcons and Buccaneers.

Vikings: Host the Bengals next Sunday. Remmers will miss his fifth straight game, and again will be replaced by Rashod Hill.

"This stretch moving forward, we just have to catch fire in a good way", Newton said, "and I believe we will".