Cam Newton is playing some of the best football of his career, and the surging Carolina Panthers are back over .500 for the first time in five years.
An efficient Newton threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score Thursday night to pace a 31-13 victory over the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Panthers (4-3) won for the fourth time in five games following a 0-2 start. They’ve won three straight, with Newton throwing for 667 yards, six TDs and no interceptions.
The Bucs (0-7), one of two NFL teams yet to win, have dropped the first seven games in a season for the seventh time in franchise history. They’ve lost 12 of 13 dating to last year, and some fans showed up at Raymond James Stadium carrying signs and wearing paper bags over their heads urging that second-year coach Greg Schiano be fired.
Newton completed 23 of 32 passes for 221 yards. He also rushed for a team-high 50 yards on 11 attempts.
Rookie Mike Glennon threw for 275 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in his fourth start for Tampa Bay.
The victory lifted Carolina over .500 for the first time since 2008, when the Panthers finished 12-4.
The Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins will travel to London next year to take part in the NFL International Series.
The NFL had announced earlier this month it would play three games at Wembley Stadium in 2014, with the Jaguars, Falcons and Raiders as the designated home teams.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the Cowboys will face Jacksonville, the Lions will take on Atlanta, and the Dolphins will play Oakland.
Dates have not yet been announced.
Around the league
Denver QB Peyton Manning returned to practice after the Broncos held him out a day earlier because of a minor ankle injury. … Philadelphia QB Michael Vick practiced successfully for a third straight day and will test his hamstring for the first time since he injured it on Oct. 6. The Eagles host the Giants Sunday. … New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes did not participate in practice while recovering from a hamstring injury, and could miss the team’s game against Cincinnati on Sunday. … New England cornerback Logan Ryan said he has been fined for grabbing at his groin at the end of an interception return against the Jets last Sunday.