Tuesday Notes - 11-29-05

Tight end Michael Gaines overcame two false-start penalties early in the game and caught the game's only touchdown pass from Jake Delhomme with 2:16 remaining to propel the Panthers to a 13-9 win over the Buffalo Bills.

"It was little nod route," Gaines said. "The defender played my outside shoulder and I knew I had him then. Thank God Jake saw me."

The route was similar to the one receiver Ricky Proehl ran earlier this year when he caught the game-winning touchdown pass to beat the Detroit Lions.

In fact, Proehl gave Gaines a little tutoring earlier this week.

"I didn't teach him the route, but I did help him this week," Proehl said. "After the meetings I kind of got on the board with him, showed him how to run it, how to be patient, how to work the guy's outside shoulder."

Earlier in the game, Gaines made up for his second penalty by catching a 13-yard pass for a first down on the ensuing play.

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Delhomme threw to Todd Fordham on the goal line in the fourth quarter after Fordham lined up as a tackle eligible. Fordham made a nice catch, but he lacked any Steve Smith-style moves and was tackled for a 1-yard loss.

"I made the catch, but that was the end of my forward progress," Fordham joked.

When a reporter suggested he liked the call because of the element of surprise, Fordham said, "I did too until I got lit up."

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Things got off to a shaky start on Sunday for Carolina as Rod Smart fumbled the opening kickoff not once, but twice. Luckily for the Panthers, Karl Hankton ended up with the loose ball.

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Wide receiver Rod Gardner joined linebacker Dan Morgan (ankle) on Carolina's inactive list Sunday. There was nothing wrong with Gardner health-wise. Coach John Fox simply chose to go with three tight ends on Sunday, something he hadn't done since the season opener.

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