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Patriots lose 33-30 to Panthers, fall to 2-2

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By Twitter user @Patriots

By Twitter user @Patriots

By Twitter user @Patriots

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The New England Patriots battled it out on Sunday afternoon with the Carolina Panthers at home at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots fell 33-30 to the Panthers on a 48-yard field goal by kicker Graham Gano as time expired. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has historically struggled against the Carolina Panthers in the regular season in his career, posting just a 75.0 passer rating in four regular season games; his worst passer rating against any opponent.

The Patriots received the opening kickoff of the game and immediately got to work. The Patriots set the tone right away on their opening drive doing what they do best, passing. The seven play drive, that led to a field goal, was engineered by only passing plays. Brady went 5-7 on the drive before it stalled out at the 23 yard line leading to Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski kicking his first field goal of the night. The Panthers, however, came right back at the Patriots defense and drove into the red zone eventually leading to a field goal on their first drive as well. The Patriots failed to make anything happen on their next possession, giving the ball back to Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Late in the first, Cam Newton took a shot up the right sideline to wide receiver Damiere Byrd and was intercepted by cornerback Malcolm Butler, his first of the season.

By Twitter user @Patriots

New England had the ball to end the first quarter after the interception and to start the second quarter. They methodically moved down the field capping off an 11-play drive with a two-yard pass from Brady to wide receiver Chris Hogan for the touchdown. After Gostowski’s extra point, the Patriots were in the lead 10-3. One again, Carolina wasted no time getting those points back. Cam Newton hooked up with running back Fozzy Whittaker on a 28-yard screen pass that went for a touchdown. After the extra point, the score was tied up at 10-10 with 9:41 left in the half. Brady and the offense then took the field on the next drive looking to reclaim the lead. They did just that finishing off another long 11-play drive with a 35-yard field goal giving the Patriots the lead at 13-10 with 4:30 left in the half. Yet again, Carolina answers the Patriots scoring drive with points of their own. Cam Newton found receiver Devin Funchess for a touchdown. After Gano made the extra point, the Panthers had a 17-13 lead with just 26 seconds left in the opening half. The Patriots were not content with just going to the half as they tried to get at least another field goal before the break. Brady found Chris Hogan across the middle for 26 yards with just 4 seconds left in the half. Gostowski then came on and nailed a career long 58-yard field goal as the first half game to an end with the Panthers leading 33-30.

 

The second half opened with the Panthers driving into the Patriots end zone just for running back Jonathan Stewart to fumble the football. Linebacker Elandon Roberts recovered shifting the momentum in the Patriots favor. The Patriots could not capitalize on the momentum change, ending their drive in a punt. The Panthers then finished what they had started on the previous drive as Newton finds Funchess for a 16-yard touchdown, his second of the game. Graham Gano missed the extra point keeping it at a 7-point game, 23-16 Panthers. As the third quarter came to an end, the Patriots found themselves behind 23-16.

The Panthers had the ball to start the 4th quarter and ended their drive with a Cam Newton 7-yard touchdown run. After the extra point, the Panthers had a comfortable 30-16 lead. New England, needing to get things together, did just that on their next drive. Running back Dion Lewis scampered to the right and found the end zone on an 8-yard touchdown run. After the extra point, the Patriots had some life trailing by just 7, 30-23 with 8:46 remaining. The Patriots defense finally stood tall and did what needed to be done forcing a 3-and-out on the Panthers next possession giving Tom Brady a chance to lead the comeback.

With great starting field position after the punt, the Patriots capitalized finishing off a 10-play 49-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Brady to wide receiver Danny Amendola on 4th and 1. Gostowski kicked the extra point making it 30-30 with 3:09 left in the game. The Patriots defense looked to get off the field as quick as possible to give the ball back to Brady with a chance to win it and were so close to doing just that but an illegal hands to the face call against Patriots corner Stephon Gilmore negating a sack on 3rd down by Patriots defensive end Lawrence Guy. This gave the Panthers new life and essentially a new start to the drive. After a couple more first downs, the Panthers found themselves in Graham Gano’s field goal range with just 4 seconds left. Graham Gano, with ice in his veins, knocked the 48-yard field goal right down the middle as time expired giving the Panthers a 33-30 win over the Patriots.

When talking about today’s loss, Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola credited the Panthers saying, “Tough one. It came down to the last play of the game. We fought hard. Hats off to the Panthers, they played well.”

The Patriots defense looked confused throughout the entire game leading to the Panthers getting many big plays and easy yardage.

Patriots corner Malcolm Butler chimed in on the defenses communication issues saying, “Basically, everybody’s not on the same page. We’ve just got to stick together, keep working hard and keep communicating. It starts in practice. We’ll get it done.”

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Patriots lose 33-30 to Panthers, fall to 2-2