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Panthers take easy victory over Arizona in NFC Title game

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This time, the Carolina Panthers didn’t slow down.

The Panthers overwhelmed the Arizona Cardinals Sunday night, rolling to a 49-15 victory in the NFC title game. The victory means that the Panthers will play against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.

The previous week, the Panthers had taken a 31-0 halftime lead against Seattle, but eased up and the Seahawks came within 31-24 before losing.

This time, there was no letup. The Panthers took a 24-7 halftime lead, but in the second half, they were as dangerous as in the first, running their lead to 34-7, then scoring the game’s final two touchdowns. Cam Newton threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more before leaving the game.

One of his chief competitors for league MVP, Carson Palmer, had a forgettable game. He threw four interceptions, fumbled twice and was sacked three times. In all, Arizona had seven turnovers.

Both Corey Brown and Greg Olson had 113 yards receiving for the Panthers.

“We wanted to be efficient, start fast, keep the pressure on and finish,” Newton said. “It’s not over yet. It’s not over yet.”

It will be Carolina’s second trip to the Super Bowl, and the first for Newton. For Denver’s Peyton Manning, it will be his fourth, although he is 1-2 in his previous games.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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