for this game

Panthers stun Chargers on final play

Sep 8, 2008 - 2:20 AM By James McNeal PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- Jake Delhomme made a spectacular return to the field.

Delhomme's 14-yard pass to tight end Dante Rosario with no time left lifted the Carolina Panthers to a thrilling 26-24, come-from-behind win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

In his first regular-season game back since undergoing "Tommy John" surgery last year, Delhomme drove the Panthers 68 yards in 11 plays for the winning touchdown.

"The big part of the play was that Jake (Delhomme) was able to pump," Chargers coach Norv Turner said. "He slid in the pocket and hard pumped and then he turned and threw one up and their guy made the play."

The Panthers began their drive at their own 32-yard line with 2:21 left in the game, after Phillip Rivers' 5-yard touchdown toss to Vincent Jackson gave the Chargers a 24-19 lead in this seesaw affair.

Delhomme, who finished 23-of-47 for 247 yards and one touchdown, was terrific in executing the two-minute offense, going 8-for-11 on the last drive.

"I felt I just needed to stay calm, I had plenty of time, and I had a time out in my pocket," Delhomme said. "I just wanted to give someone a chance to make a play and (Rosario) did."

Delhomme's last-second heroics overshadowed a great day Panthers placekicker John Kasay, who booted four field goals.

For the most part, Chargers All-Pro running back LaDainian Tomlinson was held in check, as he was held to 97 yards and was kept out of the end zone.

"Obviously, we wanted to start strong and win the first one and it's disappointing we didn't do that," Tomlinson said. "You have to give credit to Carolina because they came in here and played a great ballgame."

Rivers was solid if not spectacular, going 17-of-27 for 217 yards and three touchdowns, including two in the last seven minutes to help San Diego erase a 19-10 deficit.

"To start off 0-1 with our home opener makes it tough and kind of puts us in a hole right off the bat," Rivers said. "But, the important thing is to put this loss behind us and make sure this does not affect our next game."

The Chargers' last touchdown was set up on a terrific play by rookie cornerback Antoine Cason, who stripped Carolina receiver D.J. Hackett. After a mad scramble, linebacker Shaun Phillips came out the pile with the ball at the Carolina 28.

All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates had a day filled with ups and downs. On the bright side, he led all San Diego receivers with four catches for 61 yards. On the down side, he was stripped while going down at the Chargers 31 by Panthers safety Chris Harris, allowing cornerback Chris Gamble to scoop up the ball and return it for the touchdown, giving the Panthers a 16-10 third- quarter lead.

"I should have put the ball away, there is no excuse for that play, no matter how I feel," Gates said. "It was a lack of focus on my part and I apologized to my teammates for it."

The Panthers' running back tandem of DeAngelo Williams and rookie Jonathan Stewart combined for 139 yards rushing as the Panthers controlled the line of scrimmage all day.

"Our guys definitely played well," Panthers coach John Fox said. "Our offensive line, the whole blocking element, our tight ends, fullback, it was a heck of an effort by our club."

Kasey got the Panthers on the board first with a 44-yard field goal early in the second quarter. The Chargers answered quickly with a 44-yard pass from Rivers to Chris Chambers, who had slipped behind the Carolina secondary and ran untouched into the end zone for the score.

The Panthers took a 9-7 lead with eight seconds left in the half on Kasay's third field goal, this one a 30-yarder, with a textbook example of a two-minute offense that was a harbinger of the game's final minutes.

After only eight carries for 33 yards in the first half, Tomlinson carried six times for 32 yards and also caught a six-yard pass on a 51 yard drive that culminated with a 27-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding to give the Chargers a 10-9 third-quarter lead.

After Kasay's fourth field goal of the day, the Chargers struck back quickly, marching 80 yards in only six plays. Rivers went 5-of-5, culminating in a 24 yard-strike to Gates that cut the lead to 19-17.

The Chargers' defense had a terrific goal-line stand late in the first quarter to keep the game scoreless. After the Panthers drove from their own 12-yard line to the Chargers 1, Delhomme's pass fell incomplete on fourth down.






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    Panthers 26, Chargers 24  FinalSep 8 12:12 AM
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    Panthers 26, Chargers 24  FinalSep 7 9:22 PM


  • ** CONFIRMED **
    NFL
    CAROLINA 26
    SAN DIEGO 24 FINAL

    Panthers 26, Chargers 24  FinalSep 7 7:24 PM


  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 9 7 9 25
    SAN DIEGO 0 7 3 14 24 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: CAR - FG, JOHN KASAY 44 YD, 2:25. Drive: 10
    plays, 58 yards in 4:52. Key plays:
    Delhomme 15-yard pass to Muhammad
    to Carolina 31; Delhomme 13-yard
    pass to Rosario to Carolin

    Sep 7 7:18 PM


  • NFL
    TD CAR
    DANTE ROSARIO 14 YD PASS FROM JAKE DELHOMME
    CAROLINA 25
    SAN DIEGO 24 0:00 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Panthers 25, Chargers 24  End of Reg.Sep 7 7:17 PM
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    Panthers 19, Chargers 24  4th - 0:06Sep 7 7:16 PM


  • NFL
    TD SDG
    VINCENT JACKSON 4 YD PASS FROM PHILIP RIVERS
    (NATE KAEDING KICK)
    CAROLINA 19
    SAN DIEGO 24 2:27 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Panthers 19, Chargers 24  4th - 2:27Sep 7 7:04 PM
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    Panthers 19, Chargers 24  4th - 2:27Sep 7 7:04 PM
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    Panthers 19, Chargers 17  4th - 4:56Sep 7 6:57 PM


  • NFL
    TD SDG
    ANTONIO GATES 24 YD PASS FROM PHILIP RIVERS
    ( KICK)
    CAROLINA 19
    SAN DIEGO 17 6:45 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Panthers 19, Chargers 17  4th - 6:45Sep 7 6:49 PM
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    Panthers 19, Chargers 17  4th - 6:45Sep 7 6:49 PM


  • NFL
    FG CAR
    JOHN KASAY 49 YD
    CAROLINA 19
    SAN DIEGO 10 10:09 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Panthers 19, Chargers 10  4th - 10:09Sep 7 6:40 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 9 7 16
    SAN DIEGO 0 7 3 10 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: CAR - FG, JOHN KASAY 44 YD, 2:25. Drive: 10
    plays, 58 yards in 4:52. Key plays:
    Delhomme 15-yard pass to Muhammad
    to Carolina 31; Delhomme 13-yard
    pass to Rosario to

    Sep 7 6:30 PM


  • NFL
    TD CAR
    CHRIS GAMBLE 31 YD FUMBLE RETURN
    (JOHN KASAY KICK)
    CAROLINA 16
    SAN DIEGO 10 1:29 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Panthers 16, Chargers 10  3rd - 1:29Sep 7 6:27 PM
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    Panthers 16, Chargers 10  3rd - 1:29Sep 7 6:27 PM


  • NFL
    FG SDG
    NATE KAEDING 27 YD
    CAROLINA 9
    SAN DIEGO 10 5:10 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Panthers 9, Chargers 10  3rd - 5:10Sep 7 6:10 PM
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    Panthers 9, Chargers 10  3rd - 5:10Sep 7 6:10 PM
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    Panthers 9, Chargers 7  3rd - 14:53Sep 7 5:55 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 9 9
    SAN DIEGO 0 7 7 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: CAR - FG, JOHN KASAY 44 YD, 2:25. Drive: 10
    plays, 58 yards in 4:52. Key plays:
    Delhomme 15-yard pass to Muhammad
    to Carolina 31; Delhomme 13-yard
    pass to Rosario to Caro

    Sep 7 5:38 PM
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    Panthers 9, Chargers 7  HalfSep 7 5:38 PM


  • NFL
    FG CAR
    30 YD
    CAROLINA 9
    SAN DIEGO 7 0:08 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Panthers 9, Chargers 7  2nd - 0:08Sep 7 5:35 PM


  • NFL
    CAROLINA 6
    SAN DIEGO 7 4:23 LEFT, 2ND QTR
    SDG BALL ON SDG 20 YD LINE
    1ST AND 10

    Panthers 6, Chargers 7  2nd - 4:23Sep 7 5:25 PM


  • NFL
    TD SDG
    CHRIS CHAMBERS 44 YD PASS FROM PHILIP RIVERS
    (NATE KAEDING KICK)
    CAROLINA 3
    SAN DIEGO 7 9:34 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Panthers 3, Chargers 7  2nd - 9:34Sep 7 5:10 PM
  • reuzter i would've went for Panthers b4 the game started if i didn't have login problems. But i'm always gonna go for the Panthers.

    Panthers 3, Chargers 0  2nd - 9:42Sep 7 5:09 PM


  • NFL
    FG CAR
    JOHN KASAY 44 YD
    CAROLINA 3
    SAN DIEGO 0 12:35 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Panthers 3, Chargers 0  2nd - 12:35Sep 7 4:59 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 0
    SAN DIEGO 0 0 END, 1ST QTR

    Sep 7 4:51 PM
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