Panthers’ Coach Ron Rivera Says Luke Kuechly Is In Concussion Protocol
UPDATE: Panthers Coach Ron Rivera says Luke Kuechly is in the concussion protocol. Rivera wouldn’t say much else about Kuechly’s injury during a news conference held on Friday.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — (AP) Cam Newton threw for 192 yards and a touchdown and the Carolina Panthers held off New Orleans’ fourth- quarter rally to beat the Saints 23-20 on Thursday night in a game marred by injuries to key players.
Newton was 14 of 33 and threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. to help the Panthers (4-6) win and pull even with the Saints for third place in the NFC South.
Jonathan Stewart also ran for a touchdown and Graham Gano had three field goals.
But the win didn’t come without a cost.
The Panthers lost former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly (concussion), two-time All-Pro center Ryan Kalil (shoulder), defensive end Mario Addison (foot) and cornerback Leonard Johnson (chest) to injuries. Kuechly left the field on a cart while tears streamed down his face.
The Saints lost running back Mark Ingram to a concussion in the third quarter.
The Panthers, who surrendered a 17-point lead and lost to the Kansas City Chiefs last week, entered the fourth quarter with a 23-3 lead before injuries set in.
Drew Brees, who was limited to 171 yards and no touchdowns in the first three quarters, rallied the Saints back to within 23-20, connecting on touchdown passes to Brandon Coleman and Coby Fleener.
Brees threw for 285 yards.
That was a dramatic difference from the last time the two teams met on Oct. 16 when Brees threw for 465 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-38 win over the Panthers.