Tag Archives: Tom Brady

Carolina Panthers win thrilling, controversial game, 24-20

CHARLOTTE – The Monday Night Football stage was not too large for the Carolina Panthers who won a thrilling – and controversial – game against the New England Patriots 24-20. In the Panthers biggest game since a 2008 playoff loss, 74,000 fans, most of whom wore black to match the Panthers uniforms, rocked Bank of America Stadium from before kickoff until the final play.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton celebrates throwing the winning touchdown pass in Monday night's game against New England
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton celebrates throwing the winning touchdown pass in Monday night’s game against New England. Photo: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer

Panthers (7-3) quarterback Cam Newton drove the team 83 yards on 13 plays for the go-ahead touchdown, yet the Pats (7-3) still had a chance to win the game. Patriots (7-3) quarterback Tom Brady led his team to the Carolina 18 with 3 seconds left and threw a pass into the end zone as time expired. His target, tight end Rob Gronkowski was in the back of the end zone with Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly draped all over him. The pass fell short and was intercepted by rookie safety Robert Lester, however, an official at the back of the end zone threw a flag for pass interference.

Moving quickly, the officials gathered and waved off the flag, ruling Gronkowski could not have caught an underthrown ball.

Ever since that call, all the talk shows have been commenting about this. Had the call been upheld, the Patriots would have had the ball at the Panthers one-yard line and would have had another shot at a game-winning touchdown with no time on the clock.

If you haven’t seen the play, watch it here.

The call culminated a gutsy effort by the Panthers, who have now won six in a row, matching a six-game streak in 2005 for the second-longest in franchise history. The 1996 team won seven-in-a-row.

Newton completed 19 of 28 for 209 yards and three touchdowns, with a passer rating of 125.4. He also was the game’s leading rusher with 62 yards on seven carries.

Carolina scored on drives of 90, 57, 81 and 83 yards, and Cam Newton was every bit the match of Tom Brady on Monday night in Charlotte.

Newton’s 14-yard scramble had a Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens running back) feel to it. It was borderline unbelievable, certainly the play of the game. During the pre-game portion of ESPN’s telecast, analyst Jon Gruden said Newton would make a play that would show you his athleticism. I had to smile as the play began to unfold. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Newton covered 75.8 yards and dodged six defenders. The best move, when he had two defenders in front of him, coming at him, was a step-back-Jack backward jump that helped free him. He also was helped by a first-class block up field by fullback Mike Tolbert.

Carolina Panthers wideout Steve Smith (89) catches a pass from Cam Newton as New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib applies pressure. Photo: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer
Carolina Panthers wideout Steve Smith (89) catches a pass from Cam Newton as New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib applies pressure. Photo: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer

He led the Panthers on a 90-yard, nine-play drive to begin the scoring, with wideout Steve Smith making a huge 42-yard catch – a season-long – beating Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib, and starting a long night for the former Tampa Bay corner. Smith and Talib got into two skirmishes on the drive, with Talib getting flagged for 15 yards on one.

Leading 7-0 after the first quarter, the Panthers have now gone 14 consecutive games without allowing a first-quarter touchdown.

Carolina Panthers wideout Ted Ginn, Jr. (19) breaks free of New England Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington (25) to score the winning touchdown. Photo: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer
Carolina Panthers wideout Ted Ginn, Jr. (19) breaks free of New England Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington (25) to score the winning touchdown. Photo: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer

The win keeps the Panthers just one game back of New Orleans (8-2) in the NFC South, and still, if the playoffs began today, the Cats would be the 5 seed. The Panthers and Saints will meet two times in a three-week period in December, which should solidify things.

The Panthers face a short week, and a two-hour flight to South Florida for Sunday’s game at feisty Miami, before returning to Charlotte to face Tampa Bay.

                                                                               WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:                        

Referee Clete Blakeman, speaking to pool reporters after the game, said he believes the crew got the call right. Blakeman’s statement, in part, was this: “It was determined at that point in time that when the primary contact occurred on the tight end that the ball, in essence, was coming in underthrown and in essence it was immediate at that point intercepted at the front end of the end zone. So there was a determination that, in essence, uncatchability that the ball was intercepted at or about the same time the primary contact against the receiver occurred.”

In the 2013 NFL Digest of Rules, under Article 2 of pass-interference penalties, one of the acts that defines interference is: “a) Contact by a player who is not playing the ball that restricts the opponent’s opportunity to make the catch.” In many analysts’ opinions, Kuechly made contact with Gronkowski while not playing the ball, and it restricted Gronkowski’s opportunity to make the catch. In my opinion, yes, that happened, but since the ball was intercepted, to me, the point is moot.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton: Realistically, we’re just 7-3. We’re not No. 1, and that’s the ultimate goal. … We can’t just be satisfied with the performance. It’s not time for us to pat ourselves on the back.”

Newton on not only a huge win for this season, but a huge win for the franchise. It was symbolically important: “It was pretty cool.”

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera: “It was a gutsy effort. It wasn’t our best defensive effort. But it most certainly was one of our best offensive efforts.”

“It feels very good to win football games like we did this week and last week.”

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NFL predictions for week 5

My NFL predictions for week 5 include rivalry games and upsets. The week began Thursday night with the St. Louis Rams for knocking the Arizona Cardinals out of the ranks of the undefeated. Now is the time when we will begin to really see which teams are contenders…and which are pretenders. The tone has been set…these teams are who we thought they were…to quote former Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green…Now onto week five predictions.

Is this Rivalry Week in the League? Well, not quite. But we have a battle of Southwest Conference quarterbacks (Andy Dalton vs. Ryan Tannehill), an interstate match-up (Philadelphia at Pittsburgh) and a rivalry going into its 13th game (Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning), although with one new team (Denver) playing New England this time.

Here’s how I see these games, using the average point spread:

PITTSBURGH -3 over Philadelphia: I think Pitt comes out and crushes the Iggles, even though Big Ben takes a few shots. His O-line needs to help him, but Philadelphia has Jason Babin and Trent Cole, both of whom will get to Ben. Philly has not beaten the Stillers in 8 years. It continues Sunday.

INDIANAPOLIS +7 over Green Bay: Packers WR Greg Jennings is not playing…that can’t be good for the Pack. And, this is your one chance to see Andrew Luck vs. Aaron Rodgers for years, barring a Super Bowl appearance. And the Colts will be playing very hard for Chuck Pagano, missing due to treatment for leukemia…Advantage COLTS.

Washington’s Robert Griffin III’s famous “Griffining” pose…He’s lived up to the hype, though.

ATLANTA -2-1/2 over Washington: Hate to pick against RG3, but he has not seen a defense like Atlanta’s this year…or ever. I have been watching him for years, and knew he’d be good…but he has been brilliant (one interception, 69.4 completion rate, 103.2 rating), and this would be a great spot to add to his record. Matt Ryan is playing his best football ever…plays well under pressure…and will make more plays Sunday for the Falcons to cover.

CINCINNATI -3 over Miami: Ryan Tannehill has been quietly improving each week. No doubt, this kid can play. He makes good, smart throws…his receivers, on the other hand, fail to help him in many situations. Andy Dalton for the Bengals will show Tannehill how it’s done in the NFL.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis’ pre-game dance…now in its 17th season!

BALTIMORE -6 over KC: Orioles Magic switches over to their stadium neighbors, the Ravens. This team has championship written all over it…or at least a deep run in the playoffs.

CLEVELAND +10 over the NY Football Giants: Shocking, I know, but have you seen Brandon Weeden? If he gets time, and the line keeps opening holes for Trent Richardson, the team in Orange helmets will keep it closer than the Giants fans want it to be…Not saying they will win, but I’ll take the 10 points this time out.

SEATTLE +3 over Carolina (Not really sure on this one…the Panthers had a nice game in Atlanta last weekend, but just came up short (Matty Ice destroyed their defenders on that last 90-yard drive)…Will be watching the players list to see who will NOT play for Carolina…And, this is Russell Wilson’s homecoming game…

CHICAGO -4-1/2 over Jacksonville: Trap game for the Bears? A let-down is inevitable coming off their emotional destruction of the Cowgirls in Dallas. Jay Cutler will have plenty of time to throw…Jax has only had a league-low 2 sacks.

New England quarterback Tom Brady is 8-4 against Peyton Manning (as a Colt). Sunday he gets to face Manning as a Bronco.

DENVER +7-1/2 over New England: Upset special…Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady. Brady is 8-4 against Manning…just don’t think Peyton is not thinking about that.  I think it can be a close game…maybe 3-6 points, which is why I like Denver…but I wouldn’t bet the house on it (unless you are upside-down…).

SAN FRANCISCO -9-1/2 over Buffalo: The Bills have a great defensive line – on paper – but they are allowing 4.8 yards per carry…and they give up 286 yards passing. The Niners are good…really good. Buffalo, as you saw against New England, can be bad…really bad. That being said, I really don’t like giving 10 points…but in this case I feel it’s a good bet.

MINNESOTA -5-1/2 over Tennessee: Yes, I am a believer in Minnesota now. The Titans give up too much on defense…and I don’t think AP will be stopped. If he is, the Vikes’ passing game will not be.

NEW ORLEANS -3-1/2 over San Diego: I just think the presence of all the banned coaches FINALLY being in the same building as Drew Brees will have some kind of karma-like effect on the Saints. They can’t go 0-5, can they? At home? NO!

EARLY MONDAY PICK:

Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub leads a high-powered offense against the New York Jets on Monday night.

HOUSTON -8 over the New York Jets: Yep, Houston is the cream of the crop, along with the Ravens, and the Jets, well, they’re the Jets. Unless Tebow plays more, this team has no offense…no line…they’re a mess. It’s like Rex Ryan hates offense so much, he just won’t play any. HEADLINE: Rex – it’s 2012…the forward pass is in play and no one uses fullbacks anymore. Use the rules the NFL has put in place to your advantage. This is my Lock-of-the-Week!

5 Reasons the New York Giants Will Win Super Bowl XLVI

Super Sunday is nearly here.  Indianapolis, an unlikely place to host this event, has been given absolutely tremendous reviews.  Yes, the nice weather helped…but so does a compact downtown and friendly Hoosiers!  So get set for the rematch…the New York Giants vs. the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.

But…Here’s Why The Giants Will Win!

1. They are healthy.

After a season of hits, both teams are somewhat beat-up, but the Giants certainly are healthier than the Patriots. New England’s big weapon on offense, Rob Gronkowski, has a high ankle sprain. Oh…he will play. But he should be more effective in the first half. When the teams go into halftime, remember, this is the Super Bowl…and that means a L-O-N-G halftime. As Madonna and friends entertain us, the teams are set for a 31-minute break. If Gronk’s ankle is loose, it could stiffen up in the abnormally long break.

2. They have a better defense.

And that’s what usually wins championships. Look for the G-Men to rush four defensive ends – quick ones at that – to try and get to Pats QB Tom Brady. No, they won’t be as effective as they were four years ago, but I suspect that will be due to New England’s use of quick, short passes into the middle of the defense and their ability to run quick-hitting plays. This will negate the Giants’ quick defense and they may go back to a normal style of play soon after the Patriots begin moving the ball in their hurry-up offense.

3. They are a team of destiny.

Just like four years ago when these two teams met in Super Bowl XLII, the Giants are road warriors…they have already knocked off Atlanta, Green Bay and San Francisco on the road. Just one more win and they will make history…again. I think they are playing as well as any team going into the Big Game as I have seen.

4. Eli Manning has come of age.

Despite the pounding he took in San Francisco, he continually converted third down plays and kept drives alive. San Francisco’s defense is far superior to New England’s, and I believe Eli is playing as well as he ever has. Keep converting third downs (including several third-and-longs) and the defense begins to doubt itself. The Patriots’ defense has become much better in the past few weeks, but still…they are no San Francisco (at least this year’s version).

5. The Giants are 3 point underdogs.

Take the 3 points…it’ll be a close game. I like the fact that both ESPN’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic (“Mike and Mike”) choose the Giants…Sports Illustrated’s Peter King choose the Giants…Maybe I should have chosen New England…No…not this time. I am not flipping my pick. I liked the Giants two weeks ago, and I’m sticking with them.

Enjoy the game!