4th Quarter: Nearly letting it slip away

MNF. Brett Favre. Deficit. Odds stacked against him. Etc. Etc. All the makings of another Panthers upset presented themselves Monday night at Bank of America Stadium. The tide turned when Packers DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila blew by Panthers LT Travelle Wharton and knocked the ball out of an unsuspecting Jake Delhomme's hand, causing a turnover deep in Panthers territory.

On the next play, Favre zipped a 16 yard pass to TE David Martin, making it 19-32. The Packers converted on a 2 point conversion, pushing the score to 21-32 with 11:49 left in the game.

The Panthers got the kickoff at the 20, but only managed to run 4:31 off the clock. After only gaining 17 yards on 6 plays, the Panthers were forced to punt the ball with 7:18 left. The Packers needed only 4:11 to go 90 yards for a TD when Packers QB Brett Favre hit WR Antonio Chatman for a 4 yard TD pass, then Robert Ferguson for the 2 point conversion to bring the Packers within 3 with 3:07 left in the game.

Then, every Panther fan across the nation felt the sense of déjà vu.

The Panthers received the kickoff. First down, the Panthers ran Stephen Davis to the right for 3 yards. Green Bay timeout. 2:55 left.

Second down, the Panthers ran Brad Hoover over the left guard for 1 yard. Green Bay timeout. 2:52 left.

Third and six to go, Delhomme throws complete to TE Kris Mangum for two yards, and the Panthers are forced to punt with 2:08 left in the game, and only up by 3 points.


The Packers start the final drive at their 37 yard line, with plenty of time left to tie and force it to overtime. The Packers had previously shredded the Panthers for 16 unanswered points and clearly had the Panthers defense reeling.

First down, Favre darts a 15 yard pass to Donald Driver to the Carolina 48.

First down again, Favre throws incomplete, intended for Chatman.

Second down, 1:36 left in the game, Favre throws incomplete to David Martin.

Third down, Favre completes a pass to Antonio Chatman for 7 yards to get to the Carolina 41 yard line.

Fourth down and three to go, Favre hurries the Packers to the line as the clock is winding down. The ball is snapped, and Favre guns a bullet into the chest of the streaking Donald Driver down the middle of the field… only it's broken up by Panthers CB Chris Gamble. Ballgame. Disaster avoided.

The Panthers offense then came on the field and kneeled away the remaining time.

"These games aren't easy to win in this League," Panthers Head Coach John Fox said after the game. "We've had a couple of three point losses, and it's nice to be on the other side of that three-point game."

"That is the Packers," said Panthers QB Jake Delhomme. "That is Brett Favre. He's the ultimate competitor. They did a great job. I'm disappointed, offensively, that we couldn't run out the clock. But we pulled out a win tonight. Any win is great. It's a short week, and we have to go to Arizona."

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