Survive last minute drive by the Patriots, to win by 4
Panthers Beat Patriots, 24-20, Pickup Another Statement Win
By Mike Leslie, Sports Anchor/Digital Journalist - email
Charlotte, NC -
Cam Newton threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Ted Ginn, Jr. with 1:09 left to play in the 4th quarter, and the Carolina Panthers beat the New England Patriots, 24-20 on Monday Night Football.
But it wasn't without controversy. A possible pass interference flag on the final play of the game was waved off, and the game ended on Tom Brady's throw into the end zone for Rob Gronkowski.
With the win, the Panthers improve to 7-3 on the year, while the Patriots fall to 7-3.
The Panthers trailed 20-17 with 6:32 to play, after a defensive stop of the Patriots on 3rd & 1 from the Panthers 9 yard line.
Newton then led a 13-play, 83-yard drive spanning 5:33, that culminated with a 25-yard touchdown strike to Ted Ginn, Jr.
Newton converted on two third downs with his feet, on the drive. The first was a 15-yard scramble on 3rd & 6, early in the drive. Then, a 3-yard plunge on 3rd & 2 to keep the sticks moving near midfield. After a couple New England penalties helped push the ball deeper into Patriot territory, Newton dropped back on 2nd & 15 from the Patriots 25. He looked left, and found Ginn, coming back to the ball near the 15. Ginn made Kyle Arrington miss, and scampered into the end zone for the lead-taking score.
With Carolina leading 24-20, the Patriots took possession with all three timeouts, and :59 to play. Tom Brady converted on a 4th & 10 to start the drive, hooking up with Rob Gronkowski for 23 yards up the seam to keep the Patriots alive. Brady then completed passes to Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen, and Aaron Dobson to set up the Patriots in the red zone with three seconds to play.
On the game's final play, Tom Brady threw into the end zone, looking for Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots big tight end was wrapped up in a bear hug by Luke Kuechly. That contact drew a flag for pass interference. But after the play, the officials conferenced, and elected to wave the flag off, ruling that the ball was uncatchable.
As a result, the game was over, and the Panthers could celebrate.
The Panthers got a superb performance from their third-year quarterback. Newton completed 19 of 28 passes, for 209 yards, and three touchdowns. And he ran for 62 yards, on 7 carries. That included a supremely impressive scramble of 14 yards, that included multiple gyrations, and eluding six would-be tacklers.
Newton's other two touchdown strikes were to Brandon LaFell and Greg Olsen.
The Panthers defense was again up to the task, against one of the league's premier offenses. They held Rob Gronkowski to just one catch in the first half. Ultimately, Gronk ended up with 5 catches for 59 yards and the Patriots first touchdown. But his lack of effectiveness in the first half was a key reason why New England had just three points at the break.
Steve Smith caught four passes to lead the Panthers with 62 yards. LaFell's 7 catches were a team-high.
The Panthers ground game did not get going, outside of Newton's scrambles. Against the league's third-worst run defense, the Panthers three-headed backfield monster of Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, and Mike Tolbert combined for just 31 yards on 16 carries.
The Panthers now head to Miami, for a Sunday 1 p.m. kickoff against the 5-5 Dolphins. That game can be seen on Fox46 Carolinas.
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