Carolina upends the Patriots 27-17

By Thomas Hanson  |   Sunday, September 18, 2005  |  Comments( 0 )

Carolina Panthers
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The Carolina Panthers, badly in need of a win, took a page from the New England Patriots playbook.

Taking every opportunity to deliver punishing hits on defense while taking advantage of the mistakes of their opponent, the Carolina Panthers avenged their Super Bowl loss, dropping the Patriots 27-17. The New England loss was just the team's third in its last 36 games.

The physical Panthers had the Patriots looking disorganized all day. New England was whistled for 12 penalties while quarterback Tom Brady threw one interception and committed a costly fumble that lead to the final Panthers score.

The Carolina Panthers offense also struggled as the New England Patriots had Jake Delhomme guessing all day. However, Carolina took advantage of a short field to score
two touchdowns. The first proved key as it came inside the final two minutes of the first half but the second one also loomed large.

After a Mike Vrabel interception and return for a touchdown, the Patriots seemed to have the momentum having scored 10 straight points to cut Carolina's lead to 20-17. But Carolina made the next big play as Mike Rucker slipped past the left side of the Patriots line and knocked the ball loose from Tom Brady. Julius Peppers would recover and Carolina would start their final touchdown drive of the day at the New England 12 yard line.

The Patriots issues in game one were even more apparent in game two. New England simply has not been able to run the ball with any regularity allowing the defense to tee off on Tom Brady. New England also continued to have special teams issues, as Chris Gamble returned a first half punt 76 yards leading to the critical touchdown that put the Panthers up 17-7 at the half.
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