CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cam Newton finally has his first playoff victory – with a big assist from his defense.

The fourth-year quarterback threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns, Carolina’s defense set an NFL record for fewest yards allowed in a postseason game, and the Panthers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-16 on Saturday.

It was Carolina’s first playoff win in nine years and Newton’s first playoff victory since entering the league as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft.

Jonathan Stewart ran for 123 yards and a touchdown on a rain-soaked afternoon.

The Panthers held Arizona to 77 yards, intercepted Ryan Lindley twice and sacked him four times. Carolina had 386 yards.

The Panthers (8-8-1) will play at top-seeded Seattle next weekend if Dallas beats Detroit on Sunday. If the Lions win, the Panthers play at Green Bay.

After a 9-1 start, Arizona’s once promising season was undone by a rash of injuries, including ones to quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton.

The New York Giants held the previous NFL record for fewest yards allowed in a postseason game, holding Cleveland to 86 yards on Dec. 21, 1958.

It appeared the Panthers wouldn’t get the record, but Arizona began lateraling the ball on the final play and lost 20 yards. It was a fitting end to Arizona’s offensive struggles. The Cardinals managed 12 yards in the second half and had eight first downs for the game.

Trailing by one at halftime the Panthers scored two touchdowns in a span of 1 minute, 32 seconds late in the third quarter to take control.

Rookie running back Fozzy Whittaker caught a pass in the flat from Newton, reversed field and got a key block from Kelvin Benjamin to spring him for a 39-yard touchdown.

On the ensuing kickoff, Melvin White stripped returner Ted Ginn Jr., a former Panther, at the Arizona 3 and Kevin Reddick recovered for Carolina. Newton eventually found wide-open fullback Mike Tolbert in the left flat for a 1-yard touchdown and a 27-14 lead.

The Cardinals (11-6) had one last chance to get in the game when Newton was hit from behind and Rashad Johnson recovered the ball and returned it to the Carolina 8. But All-Pro Luke Kuechly ruined any chance of an Arizona comeback when he stepped in front Larry Fitzgerald and intercepted Lindley’s pass at the 5.