The interception Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme threw in overtime that was returned 32 yards for the game-winning touchdown by Atlanta Falcons cornerback by Kevin Mathis wasn't necessarily Delhomme's fault.
Panthers coach John Fox suggested after the game wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad stopped running and Delhomme simply threw to a spot where Muhammad was supposed to be on the third-and-3 play.
"It was a crossing route called," Fox said. "I think the receiver stopped, and he led him and the DB (defensive back) kept running and intercepted the ball." Muhammad admitted as much after the game.
"He threw to a spot that he felt like I should have been at," Muhammad said. "And I probably should have been there."
However, Muhammad was knocked off his route and seemed to give up on the play too early. Delhomme was diplomatic in his statements, refusing to place any blame on his No. 2 receiver.
"They brought a blitz," Delhomme said. "I was throwing to the hot guy, and he (Mathis) made a good play. Moose was fighting to get across and I was trying to get it to him, and it kind of looked like it fell into his lap. He kind of walled Moose off coming across. They had the right defense called, and that's all you can say. They got it and took it back."
If it seemed like the Falcons were anticipating, they were. "They actually ran that play on a key third down and got it earlier in the game," Mathis said. "So (safety) Keion Carpenter told me the next time they come over and do it just go ahead and jump it. I seen it, I jumped it and it was right there in my hands."
Delhomme may not have been to blame on that particular interception, but it wasn't like he played a perfect game either. Far from it, in fact.
He completed just 13 of 25 passes for a mere 153 yards with one touchdown and two picks against the league's worst pass defense. He also fumbled two snaps, losing one to the Falcons.
"I feel I let the team down," Delhomme said. "There's not much more to say."
NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES
--RB Stephen Davis ran for 81 yards on 24 carries and scored a touchdown for the Panthers. Davis had run for almost twice that in the first meeting against the Falcons.
--DE Mike Rucker injured his left knee on Sunday night but continued to play through the pain. Rucker could be limited this week in practice, but the team is still hopeful he will play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
--LB Dan Morgan missed Sunday night's game because of post-concussion symptoms and it remains uncertain as to when he'll get back in the starting lineup. Morgan has now missed four starts and left four other games with injuries. He entered the season have played in just 19 of 32 games during his career.
--WR Kevin Dyson was inactive again Sunday night for the Panthers.
--SS Jarrod Cooper has one game remaining on his four-game suspension. The Panthers are 0-3 since Cooper, who is most valuable as a gunner on special teams, was suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy for the second time.
--FS Deon Grant played a good game for the Panthers and came up with a big interception on the Falcons' 2-yard line to force Sunday night's game into overtime.
--CB Terry Cousin, who did not play Sunday night because of a calf strain, will be reevaluated later this week.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm disappointed in my play, and in not being able to lead this team to victory. But we'll bounce back. We've got to bounce back." -- Panthers QB Jake Delhomme on his three turnovers in Sunday night's 20-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.