Patriots 17

(1-1, 0-1 away)

Panthers 27

(1-1, 1-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, September 18, 2005


1 2 3 4 T
NE 7 0 10 017
CAR 7 10 3 727

Top Performers

Passing: T. Brady (NE) - 270 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: S. Davis (CAR) - 25 CAR, 77 YDS, 3 TD

Receiving: T. Brown (NE) - 3 REC, 87 YDS

Davis has three TDs while Brady, Pats struggle

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Carolina Panthers know a Week 2 victory over New England doesn't come close to rectifying their Super Bowl loss to the Patriots two years ago.

It was over when ...
... New England's running game stalled and Tom Brady couldn't pick up the slack. The QB had two turnovers (a fumble and pick) and just one touchdown.
Game ball goes to ...
Stephen Davis, who scored three touchdowns to help Carolina avenge its Super Bowl loss of two seasons ago.
ESPN's take ...
Eric Allen Even without Kris Jenkins to dominate the line of scrimmage the Panthers have a great defensive line and the Patriots had a difficult time handling that defense. The Panthers didn't allow the extra yards and big plays that the Patriots are known for offensively. I was surprised to see the champs get knocked around a bit. The Panthers went into this game knowing they very easily could end up 0-2 at home. Instead they came out and dominated to take a big victory.
-- Eric Allen

Even so, their 27-17 victory over the Patriots on Sunday sure did feel good.

"It wasn't a revenge game or a get-back game, because that was a long time ago," said Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme. "This was just a big win for us."

It certainly was no Super Bowl reprise because neither team played that well.

But the Panthers (1-1) did just enough to win, getting three touchdowns from Stephen Davis in the first regular-season meeting between the teams since the Patriots' 32-29 Super Bowl win two seasons ago.

But if it was any indication, neither team is ready to play for a championship and the Patriots (1-1) look nothing like a winner of three of the last four Super Bowls.

"Do you think we're going to win any more games playing like this?" Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "We can't play like this. We have to play better. We have to coach better. This won't be good enough ... against anyone we play."

Carolina won in spite of Delhomme, who was off all day and had an interception by Mike Vrabel returned 24 yards for a touchdown. Delhomme finished 11-of-26 for 154 yards and no touchdowns.

It meant the Panthers had to rely on Davis, who ran for 77 yards and scored on three 1-yard plunges in his second game back from microfracture surgery on his right knee. Davis became the first running back to score three TDs against the Patriots since Curtis Martin did it in 2000.

"I'm fine," Davis said. I'm feeling great. I'm having no setbacks."

Neither did Carolina's defense, despite the loss of tackle Kris Jenkins to a season-ending knee injury. Even without their run stopper, the Panthers shut down Corey Dillon and limited the Patriots to 39 yards rushing.

"One person isn't going to cause a tremendous drop-off, contrary to popular belief," said end Julius Peppers. "We aren't just going to fall off without Kris. We still play hard and we still have great players."

The Patriots lost because of Tom Brady, who had two of New England's three turnovers and couldn't carry the offensive load when the running game stalled.

Brady finished 23-of-44 for 270 yards, one interception and one fumble. He did throw a 1-yard TD pass to Daniel Graham early in the first quarter, the 100th passing touchdown of his career, but struggled from there.

New England was also sloppy, committing 12 penalties for 86 yards.

"We came in here and said, 'We sucked today,'" Brady said. "Losing sucks. Any way you cut it, it's no fun."

Carolina had control of the game early in the second half when John Kasay kicked his second field goal, a 52-yarder, to give the Panthers a 20-7 lead.

But the Patriots seized the momentum by scoring 10 points in a span of 27 seconds.

First, Adam Vinatieri connected on a 45-yarder to cut Carolina's lead to 20-10.

Then Delhomme made his biggest blunder of the game. Under pressure, he frantically searched the sideline for someone to dump the ball off to. Davis was briefly there, but Delhomme took too long to throw in his direction.

When he finally did, Vrabel was the only player in the vicinity. He went untouched into the end zone for a 24-yard score. That cut it to 20-17 and the Panthers seemed to be unraveling.

Delhomme exchanged words with Carolina safety Mike Minter as the two passed on the field and then had an exchange with Panthers coach John Fox.

Minter claimed later he only offered words of encouragement to Delhomme, and it must have been misinterpreted.

But Delhomme was still fuming when he got back on the field, and the Panthers called three straight running plays before he attempted another pass.

But Carolina's defense stopped the Patriots from capitalizing with their first big play of the season. Mike Rucker swiped the ball out of Brady's hands and Peppers scooped it out. It set Davis' third touchdown of the game and put the Panthers up 27-17.

Game notes

New England cornerbacks Tyrone Poole and Chad Scott did not play because of injury, and backup Randall Gay was hurt in the second quarter. ... Panthers rookie safety Thomas Davis, who struggled last week against New Orleans, was replaced in the starting lineup by Marlon McCree. Davis finished with two tackles and a sack. ... Carolina cornerback Ken Lucas, a free-agent acquisition, had a game-high 10 tackles. ... Deion Branch had eight catches for 60 yards. ... Troy Brown helped set up Graham's touchdown with a 71-yard catch.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1417
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays6263
Total Yards288250
Yards per play4.64.0
Total Drives1413
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-10-3
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders

Smith Sr.4348.5019

Scoring Summary

neTD3:43Daniel Graham, 1 yd pass from Tom Brady (Adam Vinatieri kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 80 yds, 1:45
carTD1:20Stephen Davis, 1 yd run (John Kasay kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 69 yds, 2:14
car4:27John Kasay 43 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 39 yds, 4:38
carTD1:48Stephen Davis, 1 yd run (John Kasay kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 13 yds, 0:22
car12:21John Kasay 45 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 29 yds, 2:31
ne6:35Adam Vinatieri 37 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 40 yds, 4:54
carTD6:19Mike Vrabel, 24 yd interception return (Adam Vinatieri kick is good)1720
carTD14:51Stephen Davis, 1 yd run (John Kasay kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 12 yds, 13:40
Drive info: 3 plays, 4 yds, 0:48