Carolina's defense forced five turnovers by Philip Rivers, recorded five sacks and a safety, and the Panthers defeated the San Diego Chargers, 28-16, on Sunday.
Cam Newton was a pedestrian 10-of-27 passing for 160 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception for Carolina (5-8), which snapped a two-game losing streak and kept its slim playoff hopes alive. Jonathan Stewart ran for 66 yards and a touchdown and Graham Gano had four field goals.
But it was Carolina's defense that set the tone early — and later put the game away.
Despite playing without middle linebacker Luke Kuechly and defensive end Charles Johnson, the Panthers had four sacks on...