A pair of Trent Dilfer touchdown passes in the third quarter trimmed Carolina's lead to 17-14, but the Panthers then took command of the game, increasing their lead back to ten points with a 1-yard touchdown run by DeShaun Foster that was set up by a muffled punt by returner Michael Lewis.
The fumble recovery squandered a three and out series by the 49ers defense and instead gave Carolina easy field position with a start at the 49ers 11-yardline. Four plays later, Foster dove in for the score, upping the Panthers to a 27-14 edge.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Panthers padded that lead to 31-14 with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Vinny Testaverde to tight end Jeff King, finishing off a 14-play, 83-yard drive.
The 49ers got on the board for the first time early in the third quarter with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Dilfer to Arnaz Battle. The 6-play, 38-yard drive was set up by an interception by safety Michael Lewis on the first defensive series of the second half.
Following a three and out by the defense, a 41-yard punt return by Nate Clements led to a quick 3-play, 35-yard scoring drive capped by a 21-yard touchdown pass from Dilfer to tight end Delanie Walker.
Carolina built a 17-0 halftime advantage, gaining ten of those points off of 49ers turnovers.
The Panthers scored first on a 19-yard John Kasay first quarter field goal, finishing of an 11-play, 51-yard scoring drive that was set up by a Battle fumble near midfield.
Carolina added to their lead with a 10-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 5-yard touchdown pass from Testaverde to a wide open Dante Rosario with 10:03 to go in the second quarter.
The Panthers continued to cushion their lead with a 73-yard interception for a touchdown by Richard Marshall on the following drive.