Panthers get splashed

For the second time in 3 games, the Carolina Panthers lose by a field goal in the final seconds. Despite a superb day by Panthers WR Steve Smith, the Panthers couldn't hang on to win, as Jake Delhomme threw a crucial interception late in the 4th quarter to seal the deal for the Dolphins.

Of course, it didn't help that Dolphins 1st round pick Ronnie Brown picked this week for his coming out party, and that the Panthers would be without both LB Will Witherspoon and CB Ken Lucas, as well. Brown gained 123 yards on 23 carries, far surpassing his totals of the previous two weeks of the season. "We told him, we're going to see what you can do today," Dolphins Coach Nick Saban said after the game. "We're going to work him. As the game wore on, it looked like he got a little bit better, maybe that will be a good sign for us in the future."

"I knew that eventually I was going to be able to make plays to help my team win," said Brown. "I've just been focusing on practicing hard, watching film and working to not make those mistakes that have hurt my performance. It paid off this week."

Carolina trailed the entire game, until they pulled even at 24-24 with 7:12 left in the game. The Panthers then held the Dolphins to a three and out, forcing them to punt with 6:07 left in the game. Delhomme and the Panthers drove down the field on a 7-play, 46 yard drive that ended on a Jake Delhomme intercepted pass which was intended for Keary Colbert. Delhomme later explained that the team had never run that set or play before in a game, but thought that it was the perfect time to run it since the Dolphins had never seen it. Lance Schulters would step in front of the pass and take it to the Panthers 25 yard line, and after a few Dolphins runs, Miami kicker Olindo Mare would chip it in from the 14 yard line for the win.

"Well we were in a man to man coverage and blitzing, I had the TE man to man," explained Schulters. "My man blocked, so I rotated in to the play, he threw the ball and I just had to make the catch."

After the game, it was evident that Delhomme was taking the loss hard and heaping the blame on his own shoulders.

"It doesn't feel good… It sucks," an angry Delhomme said in his post game interview. "You can't put into words… as a player, you don't want to look your team mates in the eyes because you let them down, and there ain't nothing worse than that. Sports-wise, there is nothing worse than that."

Steve Smith tied a team record, catching 11 passes for 170 yards and 3 touchdowns on the day. The second-most receptions were made by RB Deshaun Foster, who had 3. The most troubling stat of the day was that Panthers wide receivers Ricky Proehl, Keary Colbert and Rod Gardner, (who was active for the game but did not play) combined for just 1 catch between the 3 for 19 yards. "We're trying," Delhomme answered when asked if he was concerned that the Panthers have not spread it around to any other receivers other than Steve Smith. "I don't know if Keary had any catches today, but he had some big penalties from where they were hitting him on the sidelines, and those are catches in my book."

Delhomme finished the day 19 of 35 passing for 285 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 costly interception. "We're 1-2… that is not good enough," said a perturbed Delhomme. "I don't care what the stats are, you are judged on wins and losses, and we're 1-2."

"That is terrible."

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