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Jan 12, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) throws under pressure from San Francisco 49ers nose tackle Glenn Dorsey (90) during the first quarter of the 2013 NFC divisional playoff football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers take 7-6 lead on Cam Newton to Steve Smith TD (GIF)

The Carolina Panthers were dead in the water back at the start of this season as their 1-3 record implied that changes were coming in the offseason. But Riverboat Ron Rivera turned his team around and, with the help of Cam Newton, helped coach the Panthers to the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs.

Still, in the words of Rodney Dangerfield, the Panthers get no respect, no respect at all, and proof of this was seen in the overwhelming endorsement of the San Francisco 49ers by pundits all over the country.

But just as they have all season long, Carolina isn’t listening to the critics and have managed to take a 7-6 lead over the 49ers in the NFC Divisional Round game. After gambling and losing on a 4th and goal, the Panthers stopped the 49ers deep in their own territory and followed the stand up quickly with a Steve Smith touchdown reception.

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It was Cam Newton’s first touchdown pass of his postseason career and the Panthers wouldn’t mind if there was more where that came from.

Tags: Cam Newton Carolina Panthers San Francisco 49ers Steve Smith

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