In a match-up of two rookie quarterbacks likely to start for their respective teams this season, Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton stole the show.
Dalton completed 11-of-17 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown, leading the Bengals to their first victory of the preseason.
Panthers’ rookie Cam Newton played through the third quarter of Thursday’s game, completing 6-of-19 passes for 75 yards. He also rushed for a team-high 49 yards on four carries.
Newton opened the game’s scoring at the 6:27 mark in the first quarter with a 16-yard run. The score gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead.
The Bengals (1-2) scored three times in the second quarter, including a 40-yard pass from Dalton to rookie receiver A.J. Green.
Bengals’ running backs Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott also had scoring runs in the quarter, and Mike Nugent added a long 55-yard field goal. Cincinnati led at halftime, 24-7.
The Panthers (1-2) cut into that lead with two field goals by kicker Olindo Mare — the first from 42 yards, followed by a 38-yarder. The field goals were the final scores in the game.
Carolina’s Jimmy Clausen went 4-for-7 with 35 yards in his fourth quarter appearance.
Carolina completes its preseason on Thursday at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers at 8 p.m.