Questions about quarterback Cam Newtons behavior were raised again Sunday when he was involved in two plays that resulted in personal fouls, including one where he bumped a referee.
Newton was flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct early in the fourth quarter when, after being taken to the ground by Oaklands Mike Mitchell, he got up and made contact with referee Jerome Boger.
After the game, Boger said he should have announced the call as unsportsmanlike conduct against the quarterback for disrespectfully addressing the official.
I misspoke when I said he bumped the official, Boger said. There was some contact between he and I, but it wasnt of a malicious nature. It was where I was moving away and when I stopped to confirm what he was saying we slightly brushed each other.
Newton said he apologized to Boger, and after the game he shook hands with the referee. In his postgame news conference, Newton issued a public apology.
Earlier in the game, Newton got a shove while on the ground that resulted in an unnecessary roughness call against Oakland defensive tackle Tommy Kelly.
Kelly and Desmond Bryant combined to sack Newton for a loss of 9 yards on a third down. While on the ground, Newton appeared to kick at Kelly, who retaliated by holding him on the ground so he couldnt get up.
Newton saw the replay and said he could see how it looked like he kicked Kelly, but he maintained that he was trying to get up as fast as he could to get to the next play.
I hit him and I guess he probably thought somebody was trying do something to his leg, but aint nobody like that, Kelly said. And he kicked me and I said man, I aint about to take nothing off nobody. Im a grown man. He knows what he did. And the officials, once they see it theyll understand. I mean what are you going to do if somebody kicks you? You gonna take it? Nah.
SILATOLU INJURED: After taking nearly every snap this season, rookie left guard Amini Silatolu left after the second play with a dislocated wrist. He was blocking on a DeAngelo Williams touchdown run that was nullified by a Steve Smith penalty when a Raiders defensive back hit Silatolus wrist with his helmet.
If Silatolu is placed on injured reserve, he would be the 18th Panthers player on the list, tying the team record set last season.
Well see what happens this week. Im going to get an MRI (on Monday) and well go from there, Silatolu said. Im just happy we won.
MUNNERLYN DISCIPLINED: Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn did not start the game his punishment for arriving late to a team meeting Saturday. Munnerlyn, who had started 10 games in a row, also was fined an undisclosed amount by coach Ron Rivera.
I figured that. Its a business. It comes with the territory, said Munnerlyn, who came in on the second series and finished with five tackles. Youve got to be on time. And this time I slipped up.
GM SEARCH: According to a report by ESPNs Adam Schefter, New York Giants director of pro scouting Marc Ross has emerged as the leading candidate for the Panthers general manager job.
Ross has been a hot name in the search, which is being led by former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi.
Panthers President Danny Morrison declined to comment on the report, and the team is not allowed to talk with potential candidates on other teams until after the season, per NFL rules.
It wasnt the biggest crowd in Panthers history but it wasnt as sparse as many expected at Bank of America Stadium. There was a holiday vibe in the air, not to mention a two-game winning streak coming in. The Top Cats got in the mood by wearing Santa suits.
• The Panthers wore stickers on their helmets to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.
• Linebacker Luke Kuechly doesnt typically show much emotion on the field, but after getting flagged 15 yards for hitting a defenseless receiver, he was as animated as hes been all season. After slamming Terrelle Pryor to the ground a few plays after the penalty, Kuechly popped up, flexed his muscles and practically posed.
• With a three-game winning streak, the Panthers get to enjoy the Christmas holiday. The players are off until Wednesday when they return to practice for the final game of the season.
• It was a special win for Panthers wide receiver Louis Murphy, who was traded from Oakland shortly before the season began. I wanted to beat those guys, Murphy said. All the guys were on my side and said, Hey Murph, were going to help you pull this one out. I was glad to come out with the win.
By the numbers
1 Number of rushing first downs by the Raiders.
3 Number of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks in the game Cam Newton, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.
59 Number of offensive plays run by each team.
90 Consecutive games in which Steve Smith has had at least one reception, a franchise record.
176 Consecutive passes by Cam Newton without an interception before he threw one on the final play of the third quarter.
• Last year we won at home on Christmas Eve big and then we went to New Orleans and didnt get much done. I think all of us remember that game last year. Jordan Gross
• I think the days ahead are very bright but its time now we start fulfilling some of those promises and start fulfilling some of the potential because that potential kind of grows old, especially to the fans. Greg Olsen