Cam Newton hit Ted Ginn for a go-ahead touchdown with 59 seconds to play and the Carolina Panthers knocked off New England, 24-20, on Monday Night Football.
Facing a second-and-15 with a little more than a minute remaining, Newton fired a strike to Ginn, who broke a tackle and burst up the sideline and into the end zone. The catch was Ginn's only reception of the game and just the third time Newton had thrown his way.
Even with less than a minute to play, Tom Brady and the Patriots weren't done yet. They converted a fourth-and-10 with Brady hitting Rob Gronkowski for a big gain. New England crossed midfield and then deeper into Carolina territory when the Panthers were flagged for pass interference with 12 seconds to play. With four seconds to play and at the Carolina 18-yard line, Brady fired a last-ditch pass toward the end zone which was intercepted. Referees initially threw a flag on the play, presumably for pass interference, but picked it up after a discussion and ruled there was no penalty on the play.
Had the referees ruled there was pass interference, New England would have had one untimed play from the 1-yard line. Instead, the Panthers defense held on by the thinnest of margins and Carolina walked away with the win.
The result came after Carolina's defense controlled the first half and New England's offense responded in the second half. After being shut out for the first 28:47 of the game, New England's offense began to break through. The Patriots racked up yards, but came away with just three points in the first half. They started to turn yards into points in the second half, though. The Patriots scored on their first three possessions of the second half, taking a 20-17 lead with 6:36 to play.
Newton didn't match Tom Brady pass for pass, but Newton was excellent, both as a passer and a runner. He made several huge plays with his legs, including a highlight-reel 24-yard run. New England mounted three long scoring drives, but Newton and the Panthers answered right back each time, with the game-winning drive culminating after Newton marched the Panthers 83 yards down the field to set up the go-ahead touchdown.
Both offenses put together clock-eating drives with a total of seven possessions in the second half. Carolina had the benefit of having time to respond and the Panthers took full advantage. With the win, Carolina improved to 7-3 while New England dropped to 7-3.
Fantasy studs and duds
Both quarterbacks had strong fantasy nights. Brady racked up almost 300 yards and a touchdown through the air while Newton threw three touchdowns and led the Panthers in rushing with 62 yards.
DeAngelo Williams was unable to get much going and finished with just 14 rushing yards.
Charles Johnson left the game for Carolina with a knee injury suffered when a Patriots offensive lineman went to the ground and leg-whipped Johnson as he rolled over. Johnson returned to the game late in the fourth quarter.
Did they cover?
Carolina opened as 1.5-point favorites and the Panthers managed to win and cover the spread.
Sunday, Nov. 24: New England vs. Denver, 8:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, Nov. 24: Carolina at Miami, 1 p.m. ET