Panthers 10

(6-3, 3-2 away)

49ers 9

(6-3, 3-2 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:05 PM ET, November 10, 2013

Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA 

1 2 3 4 T
CAR 0 7 0 310
SF 3 6 0 09

Top Performers

Passing: C. Newton (CAR) - 169 YDS, 1 INT

Rushing: F. Gore (SF) - 16 CAR, 82 YDS

Receiving: S. Smith Sr. (CAR) - 6 REC, 63 YDS

Panthers grind out win over Niners for 5th straight victory

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Carolina Panthers can now say they have that signature win everybody has been waiting to see: on the road, against the reigning NFC champions, in November.

While facing one of the NFL's brightest young quarterbacks, to boot.

Carolina's swarming, opportunistic defense stopped Colin Kaepernick in his tracks.

Drayton Florence intercepted a pass by Kaepernick in the final minute to seal a 10-9 victory Sunday to snap the San Francisco 49ers' five-game winning streak and give the Panthers their fifth straight win.

So much for the idea that Carolina hadn't beaten any team of consequence thus far.

"I don't think it really bothers us, it gives us the opportunity to step up to the challenge. We did," said wide receiver Steve Smith, who had six receptions. "A win like this can boost us, a win like this can continue to give us life throughout the season, and make us feel like we're working for something, and we are."

Graham Gano kicked a 53-yard field goal with 10:05 remaining that held up as the Panthers (6-3) twice shut down Kaepernick on last-ditch drives with swarming defense.

DeAngelo Williams broke two tackles for a 27-yard touchdown run late in the first half that pulled Carolina within 9-7. Gano missed wide left on a 48-yard field goal in the third period, but came through later.

San Francisco (6-3) got the ball back with 5:25 left at its 1, then again with 1:02 to go.

Phil Dawson kicked a season-best 52-yard field goal among his three for the 49ers, who lost tight end Vernon Davis and rookie safety Eric Reid to concussions.

Carolina fumbled twice in the closing moments, but recovered each time. First, Jonathan Stewart fumbled and Mike Tolbert pounced on the ball. Cam Newton recovered his own bobble.

This was hardly the highly touted showdown between 2011 No. 1 overall pick Newton and Kaepernick, the sixth quarterback drafted that year, in the second round. They roomed together during the scouting combine.

For Newton, the numbers hardly mattered.

"This game is a maturity jump for us, because in the past what I've been a part of, we've been somewhat uncertain of how we will turn out in these types of games," Newton said. "We needed that type of game, just to be in a dog fight, in somewhat of a barnburner, to show what type of team this really is."

Kaepernick went 11 for 22 for 91 yards with an interception and was sacked six times for a 42.0 passer rating. Newton was only slightly better, going 16 of 32 for 169 yards, an interception and four sacks for a 52.7 rating.

For two teams that have been putting up points at a prolific pace for the past month, the defenses dictated this one.

"As the game went on, it got more and more intense," Smith said.

More than losing the game, the 49ers' losses of Davis and Reid could be troublesome for the reigning NFC champions as they hit the road next week for New Orleans, then go to Washington.

"We'll do what we do, bounce back, regroup, refit and reorganize and come back this week," coach Jim Harbaugh said.

Davis didn't return after sustaining a concussion in the second quarter, then Reid went down on a helmet-to-helmet hit on Tolbert in the third. Earlier, Reid recovered a fumble to give him five takeaways in an already-stellar rookie season that also includes three interceptions.

Frank Gore had 16 carries for 82 yards, accounting for most of San Francisco's 151 total yards.

"For the most part, I don't really think they did anything that necessarily confused us," 49ers center Jonathan Goodwin said. "They only gave up nine points. It's hard not to give them credit. We expected it to be a physical game. Did we expect to only score nine points? Nah."

Dawson put San Francisco ahead on a 52-yard field goal on the team's opening drive, then kicked second-quarter field goals of 43 and 25 yards.

But Kaepernick could never get his team in the end zone in its first game since a bye on the heels of a win over Jacksonville in London.

49ers pass-rushing specialist and 2012 All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith played limited snaps after missing five games to undergo treatment for substance abuse.

Wide receiver Mario Manningham started and had three catches in his season debut, nearly 11 months after a serious left knee injury that required surgery.

Carolina got going after managing only minus-7 yards passing and 12 total yards in the first quarter. The Panthers finished with 250 total yards.

"This one really did come down to the way the defense played," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. "Any time you put yourself in a position where you can force the other team to kick field goals, you get a chance to win."

Game notes

The 49ers also lost TE Garrett Celek to a hamstring injury in the first quarter, while DT Ray McDonald hurt an ankle. ... Panthers LB Chase Blackburn did not return in the second half because of a foot injury.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1510
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays6652
Total Yards250151
Yards per play3.82.9
Total Drives1213
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-00-1
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders

Smith Sr.66310.5019

Scoring Summary

sfFG10:51Phil Dawson 52 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 46 yds, 4:15
sfFG13:38Phil Dawson 43 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 5 plays, 16 yds, 1:43
sfFG6:20Phil Dawson 25 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 5 plays, 17 yds, 2:42
carTD1:59Deangelo Williams 27 Yard Run (Graham Gano Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 80 yds, 4:24
carFG10:10Graham Gano 53 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 9 yds, 3:30

Research Notes

Cam Newton posted his lowest Total QBR in a win in his career (19.3). The Panthers had been 1-12 in games Newton started and his Total QBR was below 40.0. The only other win was against the Jaguars.
The 49ers had four yards of offense on 14 fourth-quarter plays against the Panthers (fewest fourth-quarter yards since 2008 vs Bills). Kaepernick was 2-of-9 passing with an interception, and was sacked three times in the fourth quarter Sunday. He has the third-lowest fourth-quarter Total QBR in the NFL this season.
- Cam Newton was 6-for-8 for 63 yards on third down in the second half after going 1-4 with an interception on third down in the first half. - Newton was 6-for-8 for 63 yards when targeting Steve Smith in the second half, including 4-for-5 on third down. Newton only targeted Smith once in the first half.
Colin Kaepernick had a 7.7 Total QBR, his lowest this season
- The Panthers sacked Kaepernick a season-high six times, with four coming when rushing four or fewer defenders. Kaepernick hadn't taken more than three total sacks in a game this season. - Kaepernick didn't record one scramble Sunday, his first game this season without one. When Kaepernick did escape the pocket, he was 0-for-4 with two sacks. - The 49ers were limited to 44 yards after contact on 32 rushes and receptions Sunday, their lowest of the season. 12 of the 44 yards came on one Frank Gore rush. - The 49ers gained only 43 yards after the catch on 11 receptions. The 3.9 average yards after the catch was the lowest for the 49ers this season.
Colin Kaepernick was 0-for-6 on throws deeper than 10 yards downfield, including a game-ending interception. It is the first time in his career Kaepernick hasn't completed a deep pass with multiple attempts. The Panthers' defense is now tied with the Patriots for the most interceptions on deep passes (nine).
Mario Manningham's return will bolster the 49ers' wide receiver corps. Colin Kaepernick completed 15 of 22 attempts (68.2 percent) to Manningham last season.
Since he entered the NFL in 2011, Aldon Smith has been one of the most dominant pass-rushers in the league... His 38 sacks in 35 games is the 2nd-most in the NFL since 2011... And only 4 players have had more sacks than Smith in their 1st 3 seasons since sacks became official in 1982.
Only the Lions use four or fewer rushers more frequently than the 49ers (83.5 percent of dropbacks). Cam Newton has completed an NFL-best 77.9 percent of his passes against such pressure since Week 6.
Since entering the NFL in 2011, Aldon Smith has 38 sacks in 35 games. Only Jared Allen of the Vikings has more during that span -- a mere half-sack more than Smith.

ESPN Stats & Information