New England just took its first lead over Carolina in this game -- 14-7 with 1:06 left in the third quarter after a backbreaking 96-yard, 13-play drive. It took seven minutes and 20 seconds and ended with Tom Brady throwing a five-yard TD pass to Benjamin Watson (Rock Hill Northwestern) for the TD.
The Panthers' defense had trouble the entire series with Wes Welker, who repeatedly got open over the middle for short gains and then caught a 23-yarder for a big one. Carolina also was repeatedly gashed for rushing gains of 5 and 6 yards as the Panther defense -- stalwart through most of this game -- has begun to look tired.
Carolina had a pretty good drive going earlier in the third quarter but what would have been a first-down pass to Steve Smith at the New England 30 was nullified by Carolina's "illegal shift" penalty. The Panthers eventually punted, downed it at the 4 and then got it taken 96 yards.
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