Cam Newton had nowhere to run and no time to throw until it was too late.

Newton was sacked a career-high nine times and threw three interceptions as the Carolina Panthers lost 45-21 to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night.

The game was in Philadelphia's control when Newton tossed a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Kelvin Benjamin.

"I have to protect the football better," Newton said. "I can't throw the football up for grabs and have to understand the difference between giving my guys a chance or opportunity and risking the football. In the pocket, man, I've got to do better."

Newton finished 25 of 40 for 306 yards and two TDs.

The Panthers (3-6-1) hardly look like the team that won the NFC South last year. They've lost four in a row and already have allowed more points in 10 games than they did in 2013. Making things worse, Carolina defensive tackle Star Lotulelei was carted off the field late in the third quarter.

"We've got to do things better," coach Ron Rivera said. "I have to coach better, coaches have to coach better, we have to practice better and then go out and play better. And we're going to do it together as a team."

Darren Sproles had two touchdowns, Mark Sanchez threw for two scores and the Eagles (7-2) stayed on top in the NFC East. They're trying to repeat as division champions without quarterback Nick Foles, who broke his collarbone in a win at Houston last week.

Sanchez had 332 yards passing in his first start since Dec. 30, 2012. Sproles returned a punt 65 yards for a score and had an 8-yard TD run. Bradley Fletcher returned an interception 34 yards for a TD and Jordan Matthews had 138 yards receiving and two TDs.

Newton threw the first of three interceptions and DeAngelo Williams lost a fumble on Carolina's first three plays from scrimmage. The turnovers led to 10 points for the Eagles.

Conor Barwin had 3 1/2 sacks and Brandon Graham had 1 1/2. Newton had never been sacked more than seven times in his career.

"I'm great, that's not going to be a distraction for me," Newton said. "Yeah, I got hit a lot today, but it's all in the game. We're not playing ballet, we're not running track or anything. This is a physical sport that you signed up for, and you know, I'll be ready to go."

Casey Matthews, starting for injured linebacker DeMeco Ryans, forced Williams' fumble and Cedric Thornton recovered at the Panthers 22. Cody Parkey hit a 39-yard field goal to make it 3-0.

Cary Williams then intercepted Newton on Carolina's next offensive play. It was the first pick by an Eagles cornerback this season.

Sanchez completed passes of 15 yards to Jeremy Maclin and 21 yards to Brent Celek to set up Sproles' score. Sproles took a handoff and ran off the left side untouched.

The Panthers answered on their ensuing possession. Newton connected with Greg Olsen on a 38-yard pass and converted a pair of third-down passes to keep the drive going. Jonathan Stewart jumped over the top from the 1 to cut it to 10-7.

Sproles broke loose up the middle, deked punter Brad Nortman and cut to the right sideline on his way to his second punt return for a score this season and fourth in his career, giving the Eagles a 17-7 lead.

Fletcher stepped in front of a poor pass intended for Jason Avant and ran it back to put Philadelphia up 31-7. The Eagles already have a franchise-record nine touchdowns on defense and special teams.

"I thought Cam needed to get a rhythm going, he got a rhythm going, and I stuck with him," Rivera said. "I'm not looking at short-term fixes, I'm looking at the long term for the long haul and if he's going to be our quarterback, he has to work himself through these things, and that's what I'm looking for."

LeSean McCoy ran in from the 1 to make it 38-7. Matthews caught an 18-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter.

Benjamin had TD catches of 21 and 40 yards.

NOTES: Newton had his first multi-interception regular-season game since Dec. 1, 2013, vs. Tampa Bay. He threw two in a playoff loss to San Francisco ... The Panthers have allowed 37 or more points in five of their 10 games this season.

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