After the Panthers rolled up 563 yards on the ground in their last two home games, Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan seemed determined not to let DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart beat his team on the ground Sunday. So the Broncos stacked the box with eight guys -- often adding a fourth linebacker -- and forced the Panthers to beat them through the air.
And Jake Delhomme did just that.
Delhomme proved the Panthers can still be a dangerous passing team, completing 17 of 26 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown as Carolina routed Denver 30-10 to complete a perfect 8-0 regular season at Bank of America Stadium. Steve Smith caught nine passes for 165 yards and a touchdown and Muhsin Muhammad added four catches for 70 yards.
And the Broncos didn't exactly slow down Carolina's running attack.
Williams ran for 88 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown run on a play where the Broncos had eight men in the box. Stewart added Carolina's other touchdown as the Panthers gained 147 yards on the ground.
"It lets other teams know that we're not a one-dimensional team," said Williams, who has scored a touchdown in seven straight games. "We can run. We can pass. We are a complete team."
The Panthers face the Giants on Sunday night at the Meadowlands in a game that will determine the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. Although Carolina is 11-3, they still haven't wrapped up a playoff berth.
And given the way the Panthers are playing at Bank of America Stadium, it truly would be an advantage.
The Panthers have outscored their opponents 234-111 at home in 2008.
Ironically, the Panthers were very average at home since coach John Fox arrived in 2002, just 24-24 entering this season.
"I think it's great," Fox said. "It's something that we addressed in the offseason. We have a unique bunch. It was something they put on their list of goals and we were able to accomplish it. I think it was done one other time here by this organization. It's not easy to do anywhere, and so those guys ought to be commended."
Said Delhomme: "You want to protect your home turf," Delhomme said. "In the past we've done OK at home. We played pretty good on the road. That is a special feeling and I think it comes back to confidence. I think it snowballs. We've been down and come back. Our guys are very confident."
Panthers beat Broncos, go undefeated at home
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