(SportsNetwork.com) - The Carolina Panthers had an extra week to bask in the glory of the franchise's most lopsided win in nearly two decades but now it's time to get back to work.
Cam Newton and Co. will travel west to take on the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The Panthers were mired in hard-luck during the first two weeks of the season, dropping their first couple of games by a combined six points before bouncing back in a big way by with a 38-0 thrashing of the visiting New York Giants back on Sept. 22.
"We have to be realistic because we've not arrived by any stretch of the imagination," coach Ron Rivera said while trying to temper any "success hangover" for his young team. "We have to approach each week as a learning situation and keep shooting for the top of the mountain."
Newton threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another against Big Blue, while his team's defense put forth a dominant effort.
Newton finished with 223 yards and one interception while completing 15-of-27 passes and adding 45 yards on the ground. Brandon LaFell hauled in two of the quarterback's scoring strikes, with DeAngelo Williams contributing 120 rushing yards on 23 carries to Carolina's first triumph of the season.
The Panthers, who were routed by New York at home by a 37-6 score during Week 3 of the 2012 season, outgained the still-winless Giants by a whopping 402-150 margin in total yards. Carolina tied a team record by sacking Eli Manning seven times, including three from end Greg Hardy, forced three turnovers and yielded just 10 first downs in an overwhelming performance resulting in the team's first shutout since 2008.
"That game feels like a long time ago now and the significance of it will be determined by how we do going forward," said Rivera.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, are also coming off a win, albeit an extremely unimpressive one after Jay Feely's 27-yard field goal with 1:29 remaining lifted Arizona a 13-10 comeback victory over the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday.
Tampa Bay rookie QB Mike Glennon was intercepted by Patrick Peterson late in the fourth quarter and Carson Palmer found Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone from 13 yards out to tie the score at 10-10.
"I was really surprised they threw towards him," said Arizona head coach Bruce Arians. "With the rookie quarterback, he's gonna make you pay. For a great athlete, Patrick studies the game extremely hard."
The Cardinals then sacked Glennon at the Tampa Bay 1, forcing a three-and-out and took advantage of the field position with Feely's 27-yard kick. Palmer's 19-yard pass to Jaron Brown, combined with an unnecessary roughness penalty on safety Dashon Goldson, brought the ball to the 9. After three runs, Feely booted the winning kick.
Peterson picked off Glennon for a second time with less than a minute remaining to seal the win for Arizona, which won on the road for the first time since Week 2 last season.
"I thought the fourth quarter was some of the best football we've played all year," said Arians. "I think all 53 guys had a hand in this win, and that's what it takes to win on the road in the NFL."
Palmer completed 21-of-38 passes for 248 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for Arizona, which ran off 13 straight points in the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals snapped a seven-game regular-season losing streak to the Panthers with a 28-21 win the last time these two teams met on Sept. 11, 2011, Newton's NFL debut. Overall Carolina leads the series 8-3.