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Panthers’ Week 16 report card

RUN OFFENSE: A

Jonathan Stewart was steady all day. His 30-yard run pounding run up the middle late in the fourth quarter sealed the Panthers’ win. It was a flash of the old Stewart. Cam Newton on the bootleg was a thing of beauty.

PASS OFFENSE: B

Newton wowed everyone with his escapability and then, on the same play, made everyone shake their heads. That interception by Cleveland defensive lineman Billy Winn was a pass attempt that should have never been made.

COACHING: A

Not known for success with coach’s challenges, head coach Ron Rivera was right both times he threw the red flag Sunday. The Panthers also did just enough to win the game. That’s about all you can ask out of this group this season.

RUN DEFENSE: A

Cleveland averaged less than 4 yards per carry.

PASS DEFENSE: B

Things to like: Josh Norman’s diving interception and the front’s ability to put pressure on Brian Hoyer late in the game. Thing to not like: The 81-yard touchdown pass from Hoyer to Jordan Cameron that put the Panthers behind in the fourth quarter.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C

Graham Gano missed a 43-yard field goal on the Panthers’ first scoring drive. It was his sixth miss of the season. There was also a penalty for an illegal wedge on a kickoff return.

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