Panthers easily beat Falcons; get Playoff 1st Round Bye

The Panthers shut out the Atlanta Falcons, 38-0, and remain undefeated on their record-breaking season. The Panthers go to 13-0, and with the win over Atlanta get a first round playoff bye.

Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton was 15/21 for 265 yards passing with 3 touchdowns. Coach Ron Rivera pulled Newton and several other starters out of the game early so as to prevent injuries towards the end of the game. But the Panthers didn't escape the win unscathed. Benè Benwikere left the game after he broke his left leg, a season-ending injury. Greg Olsen was also slow to get up after a play in the end zone, but was later ruled to be okay. Luke Kuechly also injured his ankle, but returned to the game and got an interception. Newton connected on scoring strikes of 74 and 46 yards to Ted Ginn Jr., and Jonathan Stewart ran for a touchdown as the Panthers (13-0) scored on their first three possessions.

Newton also threw a 4-yard TD pass to Ed Dickson in the final seconds of the first half before leaving for good at the end of the third quarter with Carolina up 38. He finished with a career-high quarterback rating of 153.3, and the Panthers won their 17th straight regular-season game.

Carolina's defense forced four turnovers and had five sacks, while limiting struggling Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to 224 yards passing. Atlanta (6-7) has lost six straight games.

Carolina's 38-point win matched the largest margin of victory in team history. The Panthers outgained Atlanta 424-230.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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