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Newton leads Panthers past Eagles 30-22

Tuesday - 11/27/2012, 12:56pm  ET

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton smiles as he walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, in Philadelphia. Carolina won 30-22. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

DAN GELSTON
AP Sports Writer

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- They were two words on a sponsor's banner draped behind the Philadelphia Eagles' postgame podium: Imagine. Change.

For disgusted Eagles fans, that's all they can do, especially with coach Andy Reid still running the show. They won't have to imagine much longer.

After 14 seasons, one Super Bowl appearance, and, now a dreadful losing streak, the countdown to the end of Reid's tenure is hitting high gear in Philadelphia. Owner Jeffrey Lurie already has said that an 8-8 record would be "unacceptable" this year.

The Eagles would have to finish 5-0 just to get there after Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more to lead the Carolina Panthers to a 30-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night.

Newton, who hadn't played up to his sensational rookie season, showed no signs of a sophomore slump against Philadelphia's porous pass defense. He finished 18 of 28 for 306 yards and had a passer rating of 125 in a matchup of teams with the worst records in the NFC.

Newton was only the latest player to shine against an Eagles (3-8) team about all out of hope. The Eagles haven't won since beating the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants to go 3-1, a skid that has put Reid's job in real jeopardy. Unless Lurie has an implausible change of heart, Reid's run is about over, an inglorious end for the coach who led the Eagles to five conference championship games.

Lurie ducked out of a pregame press conference for the team's Hall of Fame before he could take questions from reporters. Reid said he hasn't discussed his job status with his boss.

"I'm not worried about all of the other things," Reid said. "I'm worried about winning football games and making sure I get my players coached up to where we do a better job with that."

As Philadelphia's seventh straight loss came to a close, some fed-up fans held up a banner that read, "Jeff This Is On You."

While Lurie surely joins Reid in taking a share of the blame for this ugly season, the players have been awful.

"I feel bad for Andy because he's in a horrible situation in a town that is critical, and rightly so," tight end Brent Celek said. "If I was the fans, I'd be mad, too. I don't see Andy as the problem. I see it as us."

Their latest problem was an inability to solve Newton.

Newton, the No, 1 overall pick in 2011, lived up to the hype by throwing for 4,051 yards with 21 TD passes and 14 TDs on the ground in his first year. He entered this game with only nine TD passes and four TDs rushing, a major disappointment for Panthers fans.

But Newton outshined rookie seventh-round pick Nick Foles in his Monday night debut.

Newton had a 24-yard TD toss over the middle to a wide-open Gary Barnidge for a 7-3 lead. He connected with Brandon LaFell on a 43-yard pass to make it 14-3 later in the first quarter. LaFell was wide open on the play, taking advantage of another breakdown in coverage in the secondary.

Newton led a 95-yard drive to open the third quarter, finishing it off with a 1-yard leap to give the Panthers a 21-15 lead. Newton hit Louis Murphy for a 55-yard gain on a second-and-11 from Carolina's 16.

"I think my best game is still to come," Newton said. "I'm still focused on getting better each and every week."

Carolina (3-8) went ahead 24-22 early in the fourth quarter on Graham Gano's 23-yard field goal.

"It's been a long time in coming," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. "Lots of people contributed and made plays. Real proud of what we did and the things we did to give ourselves a chance to win."

Bryce Brown set an Eagles' rookie record with 178 yards rushing, including TD runs of 65 and 5 yards. Brown, filling in for injured running back LeSean McCoy, surpassed Correll Buckhalter's rookie mark of 134 yards rushing in his first start since his senior year at Wichita East High School in 2008. Brown also lost two fumbles, including one in Panthers' territory.

Foles was so-so in his second straight start for Michael Vick, who sat out with a concussion. Foles was 16 of 21 for 119 yards.

"The most important thing for me was for us to get the win and that didn't happen tonight," Brown said. "I felt like a lot of that had to do with my two turnovers. It really, really cost us."

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