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Newton stars as Panthers beat Dolphins

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina scored the only points, with Graham Gano making a 40-yard field goal with 1:50 remaining in the first quarter.

After a pair of powerful statements from the defending conference champion Atlanta Falcons and the division-leading New Orleans Saints, the Carolina Panthers couldn't afford to fall flat on Monday night.

Newton threw for 254 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another 95 yards.

The Miami Dolphins made one thing very clear Monday night: They are not ready for prime time.

Newton led a high-powered performance from an offense that had largely struggled this season.

Jonathan Stewart ran for a season-high 110 yards, and Newton had a 69-yard jaunt on a read option as the Panthers racked up 294 yards on the ground.

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Miami fell to Oakland last week and now has dropped its last two contests after opening the season 4-2.

The Dolphins showed life when Kenyan Drake went 66 yards for a touchdown on a third-down run.

Carolina capitalized on the turnover a short time later, when quarterback Cam Newton found tight end Ed Dickson for a seven-yard touchdown.

The series has featured close games, with four of the six decided by a touchdown or less. Carolina is first in total defense (274.1 yards per game), second in rushing defense (78.4), fourth in scoring (17.7) and seventh in yards per play allowed (4.9). But the score and the lead was within striking distance, down only 10-7 with 47 seconds left before halftime.

Panthers: Rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury after dropping a would-be touchdown pass in the end zone. The game turned from there and brought on the explosive plays from the Panthers offense.

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