So New York was on the verge of getting the ball back with a chance to drive down the field and score. The play resulted in 8 points after QB Cam Newton jumped across the goal line for the conversion, giving Carolina a 26-20 lead.
McCown drove the Jets down the field, connecting with Jermaine Kearse on a 3-yard touchdown pass to cut New York's deficit to five at 32-27 with 5:32 left.
But Mike Pennel was called for roughing the passer, giving Carolina a first down at the Jets' 34.
Chandler Catanzaro kicked field goals of 31 and 19 yards.
Newton was mostly contained by the Jets' defense, finishing 11 of 28 for 168 yards along with 28 yards rushing - including a 1-yard TD - on nine carries.
As soon as the Panthers placed the Pro Bowl tight end on injured reserve with a broken foot on September 19, they targeted the November 26 game against the Jets as his probable return.
With only one reception for 10 yards, his workload was small against the Jets in the first half, but it wasn't small enough to keep his foot from being injured. The Jets had three tries to punch the ball in from the one-yard line, but offensive coordinator John Morton called three passing plays. "You can't play three quarters of good football and then give away two touchdowns".
Greg Olsen is nearing his anticipated return.
Both teams were coming off bye-week breaks, and the Panthers improved to 3-4 under Ron Rivera in such games, while the Jets dropped to 1-2 under Todd Bowles. NY had to settle for a field goal. That ended an eight-game winning streak for Drew Brees and the Saints, whom the Panthers are all too familiar with. That would be satisfying for most teams, but the Panthers came in having run for more than 200 yards in their past two games - a first for the franchise. Rookie safety Jamal Adams appeared to take exception to Newton's celebratory "Superman" pose and pushed the Panthers quarterback, and an official intervened before anything escalated.
Jets: home vs. Kansas City next Sunday.