Inside Slant, Notes and Quotes

Muhammad was on the receiving end of a 51-yard flea flicker from Delhomme in the first half.<br><br> It's a play Muhammad has been hoping to have called for quite some time.<br><br> "We ran that play against them last year, and I didn't come up with the catch," Muhammad said. "I was able to make the catch this year. It was in the back of mind, it really has been."

John Kasay's leg is feeling fine, which should help the surging Panthers in their stretch run to the playoffs.

Just one game out of the final wild-card spot, the Panthers can help themselves immensely with a win this week over the St. Louis Rams.

After being held out of the last two games with a calf strain, Kasay returned Sunday to boot a franchise-record six field goals as the Panthers defeated the New Orleans Saints 32-21 at the Louisiana Superdome.

Kasay was a perfect 6-for-6 on the day, converting from 30, 50, 46, 25, 21 and 21 yards.

The 50-yarder came after the Panthers were called for back-to-back penalties on fourth down, including a holding penalty that nullified a successful 40-yard field goal.

After the penalty, members of the punt team began running on to the field, but an animated Kasay began waving them off.

After the initial confusion, the Panthers decided to kick the field goal and Kasay had just enough leg to get it over the crossbar.

"I made the one before it, so I thought I had pretty good leverage," Kasay joked after the game when asked about his peculiar behavior. "It all worked out. I'm glad it did."

Panthers head coach John Fox said one of the team's assistant coaches had accidentally called for the punt team, not realizing the penalty wouldn't have put the team outside field goal range.

Kasay had twice converted five field goals in a game during his career, both times in 1996.

As for setting a team record at age 35, Kasay said, "You guys know me, I don't play for records.

"It's just been fun being around a group of guys that have battled hard and haven't given up," he said. "That's the neat thing. God keeps giving me an opportunity to play and an opportunity to kick. I'm just really humbled."

Kasay seems to have had the Saints' number through the years.

In 14 career games against the Saints, Kasay has converted 34 of 38 field goal attempts, an average of 2.4 field goals per game. He's been especially accurate at the Superdome, where he's converted 22 of 24.

It's a place where Kasay feels comfortable. "Starting off my career in Seattle and kicking in a dome for four years, well, you do a lot of kicking indoors," Kasay said. "But it takes away a lot of your excuses with the wind and things." As for his leg, Kasay said he feels just fine. And even though he wanted to kick last week, he said that in hindsight it might have been a good idea that Fox held him out.

"The way today was it was probably good that I did have another week," Kasay said.

NOTES, QUOTES
--WR Muhsin Muhammad continued his assault on the franchise's record books. He owns the top three receiving games in team history after racking up 179 yards on 10 receptions on Sunday.

Muhammad already held the team record of 192 yards receiving in a game, which also was set here at the Louisiana Superdome back on Sept. 13, 1998. His second-best total is 189 yards, against Washington on Nov. 16 of last season.

Muhammad would have had the team record on Sunday, but he got only one foot inbounds in the back of the end zone and officials waved off a potential 30-yard touchdown grab in the fourth quarter.

"I don't know how close I was, but I was trying to run it down," Muhammad said. "I think Jake (Delhomme, the quarterback) got hit as he tried to throw the ball. So it was thrown a little long. I was trying to keep my feet in bounds. I kind of slipped a little bit. But we won the game, and that is the most important thing to me."

All 10 of Muhammad's grabs Sunday resulted in first downs, and one was for a touchdown.

"I think our philosophy on offense is to throw the ball down the field," Muhammad said. "And that is what we try to do in the passing game is get chunks of yardage. Our offensive line did a good job of blocking for Jake. My job is easy. It's just man-to-man coverage, go run and catch the ball."

--Muhammad was on the receiving end of a 51-yard flea flicker from Delhomme in the first half.

It's a play Muhammad has been hoping to have called for quite some time.

"We ran that play against them last year, and I didn't come up with the catch," Muhammad said. "I was able to make the catch this year. It was in the back of mind, it really has been."

--RB Nick Goings set a franchise record with 36 carries, topping the previous record of 35 set by Fred Lane on Nov. 1, 1998.

"Nick's a coach's dream," Panthers head coach John Fox said. "He's the kind of kid you want your son to grow up to be like. He's hard-working guy. He's been a role player for us in the past. Kudos to Nick Goings and really everyone involved in the run game -- our offensive line, tight ends and fullbacks."

--CB Ricky Manning Jr., normally a reliable defender, had a tough time covering Saints wide receiver Joe Horn on Sunday. Horn caught eight passes for 160 yards and two scores, most of those catches coming off Manning. However, Chris Gamble gave up one of the touchdown passes.

--RB Nick Goings has run for 349 yards and four touchdowns in his last three games as the team's starting back. Not bad for a sixth option at running back.

--FB Brad Hoover returned Sunday from a hip injury and played well.

--K John Kasay's leg appears fine after he connected on six field goals on Sunday to help the Panthers beat the Saints 32-21.

--WR Muhsin Muhammad continues to elevate his game and deserves Pro Bowl consideration. Muhammad has 962 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

Muhammad's 10 TD grabs are tied for second-most in the NFC with Green Bay's Javon Walker. Terrell Owens had 14 TD catches. --FB Casey Cramer's role was limited with Brad Hoover back in the lineup.

--CB Chris Gamble was toasted for a touchdown on Sunday by Joe Horn, as was Ricky Manning Jr.

--P Todd Sauerbrun injured his groin on Sunday, but the Panthers hope he will be able to go Sunday.

--LB Dan Morgan is getting closer to being back on the field, but the Panthers aren't committing to anything right now. Morgan has missed four of the last five games with a concussion.

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