CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cam Newton threw for 192 yards and a touchdown and the Carolina Panthers held off New Orleans’ fourth-quarter rally to beat the Saints 23-20 in a game marred by injuries to key players Thursday night.

Newton was 14 of 33 and threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. to help the Panthers (4-6) win for third time in three games and pull even with the Saints for third place in the NFC South.

Jonathan Stewart also ran for a touchdown and Graham Gano had three field goals.

But the win didn’t come without a cost.

The Panthers lost former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly (concussion), two-time All-Pro center Ryan Kalil (shoulder), defensive end Mario Addison (foot) and cornerback Leonard Johnson (chest) to injuries. Kuechly left the field on a cart while tears streamed down his face.

The Saints lost running back Mark Ingram to a concussion in the third quarter.

The Panthers, who surrendered a 17-point lead and lost to the Kansas City Chiefs last week, entered the fourth quarter with a 23-3 lead before injuries set in.

Drew Brees, who was limited to 171 yards and no touchdowns in the first three quarters, rallied the Saints back to within 23-20, connecting on touchdown passes to Brandon Coleman and Coby Fleener.

Brees threw for 285 yards.

That was a dramatic difference from the last time the two teams met on Oct. 16 when Brees threw for 465 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-38 win over the Panthers.

DOCTORS WHO decide whether an NFL player is healthy enough to go into the game shouldn’t be paid by the teams that have a stake in winning and losing – an “undeniable conflict of interest.”

That’s what a report released by Harvard University experts in medicine, law and ethics said.

The study by the NFL Players Association-funded Football Players Health Study also recommends a short-term injured reserve for athletes recovering from a concussion, much like the system that baseball adopted five years ago.

DOLPHINS: Miami center Mike Pouncey aggravated a hip injury that forced him to miss the first four weeks of the season, raising doubts about his status for Sunday’s game at the Rams and beyond.

Pouncey left practice Wednesday and sat out Thursday’s drills. The Dolphins are already without left tackle Branden Albert, sidelined by a dislocated left wrist.

LIONS: Before he became one of the best linebackers in the NFL and a leading activist among athletes, DeAndre Levy was a college player best known for a sideline tackle that broke former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno’s leg.

In a profile with Men’s Journal published this week, Levy said that tackle is now “my proudest moment in college.”

“That dirtbag, man,” Levy said of Paterno, who was fired from Penn State in 2011 amid a scandal of child sexual abuse involving one of his former assistants, Jerry Sandusky.

Lions Coach Jim Caldwell, who worked under Paterno, said he disagrees with Levy’s characterization of Paterno, but supports his player’s right to voice speak out on the matter.

Levy returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since injuring his knee in a Week 1 win over the Indianapolis Colts. He has played in just two games over the past two seasons.

BILLS: Buffalo offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio moved to the United States with his family when he was 4 years old. On Thursday, he became a citizen.

Kouandjio was one of the 34 individuals to receive U.S. citizenship at the U.S. District Courthouse in Buffalo.

“I finally made it,” Kouandjio said. “It’s been a long time coming. It’s been 19 years. It’s a good day.”

Kouandjio and his family came to the United States from Cameroon in 1997. Kouandjio was given permanent residency status for political asylum.

COWBOYS: Tony Romo’s future in Dallas isn’t really a question in the mind of owner and general manager Jerry Jones.

Even though the 36-year-old quarterback has lost his starting job to rookie Dak Prescott, the idea of him moving on in the offseason is “not a consideration,” according to Jones.

Two days after Romo conceded the No. 1 job to Prescott in what some viewed as a farewell speech, Jones said it was “not a goodbye.” The Dallas owner believes Romo is still capable of leading a team to the Super Bowl, perhaps even the Cowboys.

JOHNNY MANZIEL reached a deal with prosecutors for the conditional dismissal of a misdemeanor domestic assault charge involving his former girlfriend.

Defense attorney Jim Darnell said there was still work to be done, but said after a hearing that he was encouraged. A judge set another hearing for Dec. 1, when the case could be settled.

The troubled former Cleveland quarterback left the courtroom without responding to questions.

RAMS: Los Angeles has broken ground on its billion-dollar stadium and surrounding entertainment district.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Rams owner Stan Kroenke and Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts donned hard hats and turned over ceremonial shovelfuls of dirt Thursday to mark the official start of construction on the former site of the Hollywood Park racetrack, next door to the famed Forum.

The stadium is the first built specifically for an NFL team in Los Angeles. Kroenke has returned the Rams to the market after a 21-year absence.