Panthers 33, ?Cowboys 14
Cam Newton is still perfect this season. Tony Romo might be out for good with the same injury that sidelined him for seven games.
Newton got a big boost from a defense that returned two of Romo’s three interceptions for touchdowns, and Carolina ran their NFL-best winning streak to 15 regular-season games with a victory over host Dallas on Thursday.
Romo injured the same left collarbone that sidelined him for all seven games of a losing streak that damaged the playoff hopes for the defending NFC East champion Cowboys (3-8).
Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly intercepted two straight passes by Romo, returning the first 32 yards for a touchdown.
Safety Kurt Coleman picked off Romo’s second pass of the game and took it back 36 yards for the score to help the Panthers become the 16th NFL team to start a season 11-0.
Before getting hurt, Romo didn’t look anything like the only quarterback to beat multiple teams with records of 9-0 or better.
He ended up losing for the first time in four starts this season.
Newton did his part as well, getting Carolina’s only offensive touchdown on a 4-yard run for a 30-6 lead moments before Romo’s injury. He had 183 yards passing with several key third-down conversions and another 45 yards rushing.
On the second play of Dallas’ possession after Newton’s score, Romo was hit by a blitzing Thomas Davis and went down on his left shoulder. It was eerily similar to the injury he sustained in Week 2.
Romo went on injured reserve with a designation to return after the first injury, and the Cowboys couldn’t win without him. They were already well on their way to a loss this time a week after Romo ended the seven-game skid in his return. He was 11 of 21 with 106 yards and a 27.2 passer rating.
Carolina led 13-3 when Kuechly and the NFL’s leading defense for takeaways put the Panthers firmly in control.
The league’s top tackler since joining the NFL in 2012, Kuechly dropped into coverage and easily stepped in front of a pass intended for Terrance Williams before churning up the left sideline and pushing Romo away as he crossed the goal line.
On the next play, Kuechly made a nifty over-the-head catch on a ball thrown to Jason Witten. The linebacker looked a little winded on the return, eventually settling for a 17-yarder that led to the third of Graham Gano’s four field goals to put the Panthers up 23-3 at halftime.
Lions 45, Eagles 14
Matthew Stafford dropped back and perfectly lofted the ball where only Calvin Johnson could catch it.
Johnson leaped to come down with the 25-yard pass in the end zone for the first of a career-high matching three touchdown receptions, Stafford tied a personal best with five scoring passes, and surging host Detroit kept Philadelphia reeling with a rout.
The Lions (4-7) have won three straight since firing their team president and general manager, and three in a row in their annual Thanksgiving game.
Detroit ran for 108 yards, tied a season high with six sacks and Matt Prater made a 48-yard field goal.
The Eagles (4-7) have lost three straight. They have allowed at least 45 points in two straight games in one season for the first time, according to STATS, and have lost by at least 28 points in consecutive games for the first time since 1971.
Stafford threw for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover by halftime for the second time in his career, according to STATS, to help the Lions lead 24-7. He finished 27 of 38 for 337 yards and threw five touchdowns for the fourth time in his career.