Carolina has its signature victory
SAN FRANCISCO — The Panthers have that signature win everybody has awaited: on the road, against the reigning NFC champions, in November. So much for the idea that Carolina had beaten no team of consequence.
Cornerback Drayton Florence intercepted Colin Kaepernick in the final minute to seal the victory, which snapped the 49ers' five-game winning streak and gave the Panthers their fifth straight win.
"I don't think it really bothers us, it gives us the opportunity to step up to the challenge. We did," said wide receiver Steve Smith, who had six receptions.
Former Florida State kicker Graham Gano hit a 53-yard field goal with 10:05 left that held up as the Panthers twice shut down Kaepernick on last-ditch drives. DeAngelo Williams broke two tackles for a 27-yard touchdown run late in the first half for Carolina.
Niners tight end Vernon Davis left after a concussion in the second quarter. All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith played limited snaps after missing five games to undergo treatment for substance abuse.