Home / World News / Luke Kuechly, Kaelin Clay lead Panthers to comeback win over Jets – The Denver Post

Luke Kuechly, Kaelin Clay lead Panthers to comeback win over Jets – The Denver Post

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Luke Kuechly returned a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown and Kaelin Clay had a 60-yard punt return for a score, capping a stunning swing in the fourth quarter that lifted the Carolina Panthers to a 35-27 comeback win over the New York Jets on Sunday.

It was the fourth straight victory for the Panthers (8-3), who were trying to keep pace with the first-place Saints in the NFC South. The teams meet next Sunday at New Orleans.

This one turned in a span of 2 minutes, 11 seconds on mistakes by the Jets — and the Panthers taking advantage.

First, Kuechly scooped up a fumble by Josh McCown, who was sacked by Wes Horton and had the ball knocked out of his hand as he was about to throw, and rumbled to the end zone for a touchdown.

Cam Newton then hurdled over linebacker Jordan Jenkins for the 2-point conversion to give the Panthers a 26-20 lead with 12:05 left.

After New York’s next drive stalled, the Jets were forced to punt. Clay fielded Lachlan Edwards’ kick and spun out of a tackle attempt and sped into the end zone. Newton’s pass on the 2-point conversion fell short, but Carolina was suddenly up 32-20 with 9:54 remaining.

The Jets (4-7) weren’t done yet, though.

McCown drove the Jets down the field, connecting with Jermaine Kearse on a 3-yard touchdown pass to cut New York’s deficit to five at 32-27 with 5:32 left.

The Panthers were able to add to their lead, getting a 45-yard field goal from Graham Gano with 21 seconds remaining. The drive was extended when Mike Pennel was called for roughing the passer on third-and-12, and helped seal the Jets’ fifth loss in their past six games and severely damaging their playoff hopes.

Newton was mostly contained by the Jets’ defense, finishing 11 of 28 for 168 yards along with 28 yards rushing — including a 1-yard TD — on nine carries.

The win might have come at a heavy cost, though, as tight end Greg Olsen left with a foot injury in the second half and didn’t return. Olsen had missed the previous eight games with a broken foot, but returned Sunday. He had one catch for 10 yards before leaving. It was not immediately certain if it was an aggravation of the previous injury or a new one.

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