CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Raiders can't catch a break, nor are they good enough to make their own.
That much was evident Sunday in a 17-6 loss to the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium, a game that was destined to be a struggle the moment quarterback Carson Palmer left for good with 1:57 left in the first quarter.
Hit from behind by Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, who was called for roughing the passer, Palmer did not suffer broken ribs, according to X-rays, but was in too much pain to continue.
Backup quarterback Matt Leinart, in his most extensive playing time in more than three years, struggled with rhythm, timing and accuracy, completing 16 of 32 passes for 115 yards and one interception.
"There were some plays left on the field and that starts with me," Leinart said. "I just have to make more plays to help us win."
Oakland's running game, which had shown some signs of life over the past few weeks, was stuffed by the Carolina defense. The Raiders had 47 yards on 22 carries, with Darren McFadden getting yards 33 on 17 attempts.
Stout defensively, the Raiders gave up their fewest points of the season aside from the two games played against the 2-13 Kansas City Chiefs.
"I thought our defense kept us in the
It was the third straight win for Carolina (6-9), which concluded its home schedule with quarterback Cam Newton completing 18 of 29 passes for 170 yards and a 23-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith in the first quarter. Newton also had 60 yards on 12 carries, including 3-yard TD run.
The Panthers' Graham Gano finished the scoring with a 51-yard field goal with 2:33 left, sending the Raiders to their 10th consecutive loss in the eastern time zone.
The Raiders held the Panthers to 271 yards of offense and kept Newton's option game relatively in check. Newton was sacked twice and lead running back DeAngelo Williams had just 19 yards on 10 carries -- 14 of those coming on an option pitch.
"We want to have a high scoring, high powered game to give the fans, but a win is a win in my book, and I'll take it any way I can get it," Newton said.
With the Raiders struggling to score, Allen was imploring the defense to do something it hasn't done all season -- score a touchdown.
"Like coach was saying, 'We've got to get a score on defense,' " defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. "He was saying, 'Let's get a pick, a fumble, let's help 'em out.' "
In two key instances, the offense did get help but failed to capitalize with a touchdown.
After Shane Lechler punted the ball away on the first possession of the third quarter, Chemdi Chekwa poked the ball free from Joe Adams, with Richard Gordon recovering the fumble at the Carolina 32.
Leinart immediately threw wide to Marcel Reece, who was dropped for a 4-yard loss. He then threw short to McFadden over the middle for 3 yards. The next play, a pass for no-gain to Mike Goodson was erased by a Jared Veldheer holding penalty.
Faced with third-and-21, Leinart threw for 1 yard to Brandon Myers, with the Raiders electing to punt at the Carolina 42 rather than attempt a 60-yard field goal by Janikowski.
On the last play of the third quarter, Philip Wheeler deflected a Newton pass that was intercepted by Miles Burris at the Carolina 18.
The Raiders had first-and-goal at the 8 when Charles Godfrey was called for unnecessary roughness against Rod Streater, and got as far as the 3-yard line after Terrelle Pryor threw 5 yards to Reece.
A holding penalty on Stefen Wisniewski after Darren McFadden trotted into the end zone with an apparent touchdown led to tow Leinart incompletions from the 13 and Janikowski's second field goal.
"We just couldn't execute when we had our chances," Veldheer said. "Our defense kept getting stops, and we weren't able to score touchdowns when we needed touchdowns."
Raiders (4-11) at San Diego (6-9), 1:25 p.m. CBS
SCAN: Use your smartphone to access a photo gallery from Sunday's game, or visit
Carson Palmer's status for finale uncertain.
Penalty flags don't fall Raiders' way.