B QUARTERBACK: Cam Newton threw a first-half interception that linebacker Jonathan Vilma returned for a touchdown. But he also showed toughness by playing through ankle and rib injuries that he will have X-rayed Monday.
A RUNNING BACKS: DeAngelo Williams had a record-setting day in what might have been his final game with the Panthers. Williams broke Jonathan Stewarts record (206 yards vs. Giants in 2009) with 210 yards and two TDs on 21 carries. Fullback Mike Tolbert had three 1-yard touchdown runs.
B- RECEIVERS: Seven players caught passes, including at least three receptions each by wideouts Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Louis Murphy and tight end Greg Olsen. Murphys 34-yard pickup on third-and-18 swung momentum.
B OFFENSIVE LINE: Using their 8th different starting combination, the Panthers got great zone blocking in the running game and did a nice job protecting Newton. The 273 rushing yards were the second most in team history.
B DEFENSIVE LINE: Despite playing without end Greg Hardy, who had a death in his family, the front four kept pressure on Drew Brees. Defensive end Charles Johnson had two sacks to finish with a career-high 12.5 for the season.
B LINEBACKERS: Thomas Davis wrapped up a remarkable comeback season with four tackles in the stadium where he first tore his ACL three years ago. Rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly finished as the NFLs leading tackler with 164 stops.
B- DEFENSIVE BACKS: Rookie safety D.J. Campbell had several misplays in the first half. But safety Charles Godfrey, who intercepted Brees in the second half, and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (7 tackles, 2 pass breakups) picked him up.
A SPECIAL TEAMS: Armanti Edwards finally broke a long punt return. And though he let punter Thomas Morstead run him down, the runback set up a Williams touchdown. Graham Gano made 3-of-4 field goals, with his only miss coming from 54 yards. Jordan Senn recovered an onside kick.
A COACHING: Ron Rivera made Jerry Richardsons decision a difficult one by winning five of his final six games. Rivera let several games get away early in the year. But his players kept fighting for him, including Sunday after falling behind 24-13.