The Carolina Panthers cruised to a huge victory over the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship, winning 49-15. Quarterback Cam Newton had a huge game for the Panthers, and they benefited from multiple turnovers from Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer in the win that can only be described as a blowout.
Newton tossed a touchdown, threw for more than 300 yards and ran in two more touchdowns. Wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. had more than 50 yards receiving and ran in a 22-yard touchdown. Jonathan Stewart ran the ball well and the Panthers simply dominated the game from start to finish.
Palmer threw for 235 yards and a touchdown while throwing four bad interceptions and losing two fumbles. The Cardinals could not move the ball on offense, and when they started to, they committed bad turnovers.
The Panthers now advance to Super Bowl 50, where they will meet the other No. 1 seed, the Denver Broncos. It should be a great game in Santa Clara, but for now the Panthers have to have a lot more confidence after Sunday's dominant victory.
It was a disastrous first half for Palmer and the Cardinals. They punted three times on their first three possessions, while the Panthers managed three scoring drives on their first three possessions. Palmer lost a fumble on the fourth possession, Patrick Peterson lost a fumble on a punt return and Palmer lost a fumble in the second quarter as well.
Fortunately for the Cardinals, Cam Newton overthrew a pass and made a rare interception, which was pulled down by Peterson. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Palmer immediately threw an interception on his first pass, and it sure was a beauty ... for the Panthers.
That is Panthers linebacker Kurt Coleman with the acrobatic interception.
The Panthers scored with a 45-yard Graham Gano field goal, a Newton touchdown rush, a Ginn touchdown run of 22 yards and a Corey Brown touchdown reception of 86 yards. They took a 24-7 lead into halftime, with David Johnson scoring Arizona's lone points with a 1-yard rush in the second quarter.
Whatever halftime adjustments the Cardinals made, it wasn't enough to give them even a chance of winning Sunday's game. The Panthers scored a couple touchdowns, one via a Newton 12-yard rush and the other being a Devin Funchess 5-yard catch, and Gano booted in another field goal to put the game truly out of reach.
Palmer found Darren Fells for a 21-yard touchdown, but by then the Cardinals needed several touchdowns to have a chance at winning. Luke Kuechly picked off Palmer again in the final minutes of the fourth quarter and returned it for a touchdown to kick the Cardinals while they were down.