Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Panthers Provide Pat Answers

The Carolina Panthers pulled off yet another miracle last night, beating the perennial NFL power New England Patriots on national television, and winning their sixth straight game, 24-20.

 Who (outside of loyal Panthers fans) would have predicted not one... but (count 'em) two... exciting, come-from-behind victories against powerful NFL teams like the 49'ers and Patriots ?  I'm betting that most people were betting against our team, but at this point, all that matters is we are in a great position to end the regular season on a high note, and make the playoffs for the first time in five years.

 What an exciting game it was, going down to the final seconds, as QB Cam Newton threw his third touchdown pass to Ted Ginn with just a minute left in the game, only to see Tom Brady engineer the Patriots into scoring position, but come up short with an interception in the end zone.

  As I had predicted, the Panthers needed more offensive point production in this game to pull out a narrow victory. Newton spread the ball around, throwing his three TD passes to three different receivers.

  Two keys to this game were third-down conversion : the Panther were 8-11 (72%) while the Patriots were only 5-10 (50%), and turnovers : the Patriots lost a fumble and interception, while the Panthers did not lose the ball once.

  This game was not without its controversy : if the game wasn't exciting enough, it all went down to the last play.  After Newton's heroics, Tom Brady and the Patriots went 62 yards with less than a minute to play, and had time for one last play from the Panthers 18-yard-line.  With our defense exerting incredible pressure, he managed a lackluster pass into the end zone which was intercepted by CB Robert Lester.  However, a yellow penalty flag was thrown, allegedly for LB Luke Kuechly interfering with Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski.  After two referees conferred, the flag was picked up off of the turf, and the potential penalty was negated... GAME OVER!

  Our Panthers are now 7-3..  and headed to the playoffs !  (at least that's my opinion and conclusion)  I've believed this for more than a month, but now I'm stating it with confidence!   

  More later on our season... and our upcoming game against the Miami Dolphins.

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