Cam Newton and the Panthers offense took over from their own 48-yard line after a line drive punt by Drew Kaser. Jonathan Stewart got the ball first, but the defense held him to a short gain. Going no huddle, the Newton found Greg Olsen for a first down. On the next play, Newton looked for Devin Funchess deep, but Jahleel Addae broke up the play and appeared to injure Funchess. A series of successful running plays by the Panthers picked up another fresh set of downs. A pair of incompletions led to a 4th down and the Panthers brought on Graham Gano to attempt a field goal which he converted.
Philip Rivers led the offense back onto the field to start their second drive from their 25-yard line following a touchback on the kickoff. A nine-yard pass to Antonio Gates set up an easy conversion on 2nd down by Melvin Gordon. Then a nine-yard pass to Dontrelle Inman did the same. Kawann Short then sacked Rivers forcing a fumble that was recovered by the Panthers. And as if that was not enough, Gordon was injured on the play and they had to bring out the cart to take him off the field.
The Chargers defense stiffened and forced a punt after a three-and-out. Unfortunately, the offense was unable to do anything with it and also went three-and-out before punting.
The Panthers took over on the Chargers 35-yard line following a lousy punt. Some poor coverage by Addae on Olsen got the Panthers into the red zone. A neutral zone infraction by Joey Bosa gave the Panthers a 1st & goal from the 4. Newton nearly scored on a run, but was clearly down before the breaking the plane. Ron Rivera wasted a challenge, but Jonathan Stewart scored on the following play.
Two runs by Kenneth Farrow picked up a 1st down. A short pass and juggling catch by Farrow was good for three yards.
The second quarter started with Rivers being moved off his spot and throwing up a prayer that was intercepted by Daryl Worley.
Carolina’s offense started from its own 42 and quickly picked up 27 yards on a long pass to Funchess. It seemed like there was nothing the Chargers defense could do. Everything looked far too easy for Carolina. Ultimately, the drive ended with a touchdown by Funchess.
Thanks to a penalty, the Chargers started their drive from their own 9-yard line. They managed only one 1st down before being forced to punt. The Panthers managed to turn their great field position into another field goal and they went up 20-0.
Another sack-fumble of Rivers set the Panthers up with another short field and they turned it into another field goal.
Getting the ball back with 2:41 left in the half, Rivers drove the offense 75 yards for a touchdown with Hunter Henry capping the drive off with a 9-yard reception in the end zone.
Passes of 36 and 21 yards helped move the Panthers quickly down the field and set up a 1st & goal inside the Chargers’ 10-yard line. The defense bent but did not break and they forced another field goal try.
The Chargers next drive was largely the Kenneth Farrow show as he was the ball carrier or target on the first six plays. Then Rivers passed to Gates for a 27-yard gain. An incomplete pass and a negative run by Travis Benjamin set up 3rd & long. Gates came up big again getting the 1st down. A run by Farrow was then cut short when his helmet came off. A false start by Gates backed the offense up. Pressure up the middle forced Rivers to make a questionable throw that fell incomplete. Josh Lambo came on to attempt a field goal.
The Chargers defense then forced a three-and-out aided by an offensive pass interference penalty on 1st down.
Starting from his own 34-yard line, Rivers found Dontrelle Inman for 20 yards on the first play of the drive. Farrow chipped in a short gain, then Rivers picked up another 22 yards through the air to Tyrell Williams. A short run by Farrow got the Chargers inside the 20. On 2nd down, Rivers threw to Inman in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion was not successful leaving the chargers down by 10.
Chris Landrum recorded his first career sack as the defense held the Panthers to a three-and-out to start the fourth quarter.
Just as it looked like the Chargers were going to get back into the game, Rivers was intercepted again, this time by Shaq Thompson. That looked like the end of the game, but five plays later Trovon Reed intercepted a Cam Newton pass and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown. But all turnovers are reviewed and Reed was ruled down 98 yards short of that touchdown.
And predictably, the Chargers turned their opportunity into a safety for the Panthers. After Kaser punted the ball away to the Panthers, they looked on the verge of going three-and-out, but Rivera elected to go for it on 4th down and Jonathan Stewart converted the attempt. Three plays later the Panthers did have to punt, though, and they managed to down it inside the 5-yard line.
Rivers targeted Gates on his first two attempts and netted a total of 7 yards. On 3rd down, Inman as the target and he picked up 11 yards. Three straight incompletions left the Chargers looking at 3rd & 10 from their own 21-yard line. On 4th down, Rivers had to throw it up for grabs and the Panthers came down with it.
The Panthers ran down the clock before punting the ball away with 26 seconds left.