Panthers beat Cardinals in NFC Championship

- Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others, and Carolina's big-play defense stifled Arizona's top-ranked offense in a 49-15 romp Sunday for the NFC championship.

The NFL's new top man at quarterback -- Newton is an All-Pro this season -- will lead the Panthers against five-time MVP Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl in two weeks.

It will be the first Super Bowl for Newton and the second trip to the big game for the Panthers (17-1), who lost to New England 12 years ago. Denver, of course, has made a habit of going to Super Bowls, reaching it for a record-tying eighth time.

Carolina's D was destructive. It forced six turnovers by Carson Palmer -- special teams got one -- as the Cardinals (13-4) allowed their most points this season.

The Panthers first touchdown was a 22-yard reserve by Ted Ginn Jr. Cam Newton rolled out to his right and pitched the ball to Ginn, who raced around left end, then switched fields and outran defenders to the end zone. Ginn set up the score against his former team with a 32-yard punt return.

Next, Cam Newton hooked up with wide receiver Philly Brown on an 86-yard touchdown pass to give the Carolina Panthers a 17-0 lead with 49 seconds left in the first quarter.

Newton beat a blitz and fired over the middle for Brown, who caught the ball near midfield, eluded a tackle from safety Rashad Johnson and raced the final 50 yards to the end zone.

The crowd immediately erupted into chants of "MVP! MVP! MVP!" after Newton's TD strike. 

The Panthers (17-1) scored on their first three possessions after scoring on their first five possessions last week against the Seattle Seahawks.

Carolina Panthers All-Pro linebacker Thomas Davis and safety Roman Harper will not return after leaving the NFC championship game against the Arizona Cardinals with injuries.

Meanwhile, Panthers All-Pro center Ryan Kalil left with a knee injury and is questionable to return.

Davis hurt his right arm with 7:28 left in the second quarter when he hit Darren Fells with his right shoulder as Fells jumped into him after a catch. Davis headed to the sideline with trainers holding his right arm, then went to the locker room.

Davis had six tackles and two tackles for loss before leaving.

Harper left with an eye injury in the first half. Kalil was injured late in the second quarter.

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