Panthers to start rookie QB Clausen and bench Moore

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - The Carolina Panthers will start rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals and bench struggling Matt Moore, the team said Monday.

Head coach John Fox decided to make the change following the Panthers' 20-7 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday when Moore completed just six of 16 passes for 125 yards and one score.

In Carolina's two season-opening defeats, Moore has committed six turnovers and been unable to consistently move the ball downfield.

The Panthers will now turn to Clausen, who has played sparingly in the first two games, completing seven of 15 passes with one interception.

"I was surprised, to be honest," Clausen told the team's website (www.panthers.com) of the decision.

"I was just coming in for another day of work, watching film and starting to get ready for the Bengals. It's exciting, but at the same time, it's time to get to work now."

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Steve Ginsburg)