Newton outshines Brady as Panthers pip Patriots
(Reuters) - Cam Newton outdueled Tom Brady in the controversial final minutes as the Carolina Panthers edged the New England Patriots 24-20 on Monday for their sixth consecutive victory.
With his team trailing 20-17 late in the fourth quarter, Newton drove his team 83 yards and slung a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. for the decisive blow in a back-and-forth showdown.
The score came with just 1:09 remaining, which was enough for Brady to lead a drive that ended at Carolina's 18 yard-line. His final pass was intercepted in the end zone by Robert Lester.
Brady's intended receiver, Rob Gronkowski, appeared to be grabbed by a defender on the last play and a referee threw a flag for an interference before discussing it with other officials and picking it up.
"When they threw the flag, that's what I thought it was going to be (interference)," Gronkowski told reporters. "They took the call back. It's not where the game was won or lost."
In a marquee matchup between top teams, Newton finished with 209 yards passing and three scores, along with 62 yards rushing as the red-hot Panthers announced themselves as the real contenders.
Carolina (7-3), which has been guided by their stout defense, stayed one game behind first-place New Orleans in the NFC South division.
They had their hands full with New England (7-3) after taking an early 10-0 lead but being constantly chased down.
Brady threw a nine-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski in the third quarter to tie the game 10-10, then responded to a Carolina TD with another drive that saw Stevan Ridley run in a score and knot it 17-17 early in the fourth. Continued...