Broncos
Panthers
10 - 30 Final
  for this game

Panthers steamroll Broncos

Dec 15, 2008 - 2:09 AM By Brian Joura PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Steve Smith had 165 yards receiving and a touchdown and "Crash and Dash" running backs Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams each scored a touchdown as the Carolina Panthers completed an undefeated season at home with a 30-10 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

The Panthers won their third straight game and opened a two-game cushion over Tampa Bay and Atlanta atop the NFC South with two games left to play.

Carolina, which can can clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs if it wins its last two games, will secure a playoff berth if the Dallas Cowboys lose to the New York Giants on Sunday night.

"We are taking it one game at a time. We talk about finishing," Panthers coach John Fox said. "We started last week with Tampa and then playing a division leader in Denver. We have to go to New York next week. That is the one we're thinking about. It's a big game. That's why they moved it to Sunday night. We are going into a very hostile environment against a very very good football team that's defending world champions."

With Carolina (11-3) coming off a franchise-best 299 yards rushing Monday night, Denver was ready to stop the run at the beginning of the game. But the Panthers threw on five of their six plays on the opening drive, looking to exploit the Broncos playing without two of their starting defensive backs.

"They were stacking the box pretty good," Fox said. "I thought our coaching staff and players did a great job adjusting. They were susceptible to some big plays and luckily we were able to connect on them."

Three of those early passes went to Smith, who capped the drive with a 15-yard scoring play that tied the game at 7-7.

It was the fourth consecutive 100-yard performance by Smith and his seventh of the season. He has 1,240 yards on the season despite sitting out the first two games due to a team-mandated suspension.

"I think it's his attitude more than just his ability," injured Denver cornerback Champ Bailey said of Smith. "He has a rare ability but at the same time he has an attitude that he can't be stopped. He shows that out on the field."

After the teams traded field goals, the Panthers went up for good when Stewart scored on a 2-yard run.

John Kasay booted a 39-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to give the Panthers a 20-10 lead.

After rushing for just 24 yards in the opening 30 minutes, the Panthers looked to establish the run in the second half. Williams opened the third quarter with two straight carries.

Following a 13-yard completion to Smith, Williams took a handoff left, reversed course and than ran straight up the field for a 56-yard touchdown. It was the 16th TD of the year for Williams, which tied a franchise record established by WR Muhsin Muhammad in 2004.

"I didn't know I was going to break it," Williams said. "I was just looking for a little daylight. I got jammed up a little bit, reversed field and I saw a big opening and I took it."

The Broncos (8-6) started the game sharp. Jay Cutler completed five passes on the opening drive, culminating with a 7-yard scoring pass to P.J. Pope. It was the first career catch for the second-year running back.

Matt Prater added a 43-yard field goal on Denver's second possession but the Broncos were held scoreless for the rest of the game.

"I give credit to Carolina," Denver coach Mike Shanahan said. "They did an excellent job today, obviously in a lot of different areas. I thought early in the game we got some momentum. On our first and second drives we were able to move the ball somewhat effectively.

"But from that time on, we had too many three-and-outs. We couldn't get any momentum going. Defensively, we knew we had to stop their running game. I thought we did a pretty good job for the most part, but they came in and made some big plays in the passing game."

The Panthers got a strong pass rush on Cutler and sacked him twice. It was the first sacks allowed by the Broncos in 15 quarters.

Denver had two chances to sew up the AFC West on Sunday but fell short on both counts. It looked like the Broncos were going to clinch before they took the field, but the San Diego Chargers' late comeback stunned the Kansas City Chiefs and thwarted those hopes.

"I don't know if we ever realized it," cornerback Josh Bell said of the Chargers' win. "I think we had started playing before they got finished so unless somebody looked at the scoreboard, we didn't know it."






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    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Broncos 10, Panthers 30  FinalDec 15 12:52 AM
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    Broncos 10, Panthers 30  FinalDec 15 12:49 AM


  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 10 0 0 0 10
    CAROLINA 10 10 7 3 30 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DEN - TD, P.J. POPE 7 YD PASS FROM JAY CUTLER
    (MATT PRATER KICK), 4:02. Drive: 9
    plays, 61 yards in 4:02. Key plays:
    Cutler 9-yard pass to Stokley on
    3rd-and-5 Carolina 47; Cutler
    11-yard pas

    Dec 14 7:06 PM


  • NFL
    FG CAR
    JOHN KASAY 42 YD
    DENVER 10
    CAROLINA 30 11:21 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Broncos 10, Panthers 30  4th - 11:21Dec 14 6:38 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 10 0 0 10
    CAROLINA 10 10 7 27 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DEN - TD, P.J. POPE 7 YD PASS FROM JAY CUTLER
    (MATT PRATER KICK), 4:02. Drive: 9
    plays, 61 yards in 4:02. Key plays:
    Cutler 9-yard pass to Stokley on
    3rd-and-5 Carolina 47; Cutler
    11-y

    Dec 14 6:33 PM
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    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Broncos 10, Panthers 27  3rd - 9:05Dec 14 6:16 PM


  • NFL
    TD CAR
    DEANGELO WILLIAMS 56 YD RUN
    (JOHN KASAY KICK)
    DENVER 10
    CAROLINA 27 12:49 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Broncos 10, Panthers 27  3rd - 12:49Dec 14 5:59 PM


  • NFL
    FG CAR
    JOHN KASAY 45 YD
    DENVER 10
    CAROLINA 20 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Broncos 10, Panthers 20  HalfDec 14 5:42 PM


  • NFL
    TD CAR
    JONATHAN STEWART 2 YD RUN
    (JOHN KASAY KICK)
    DENVER 10
    CAROLINA 17 6:29 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Broncos 10, Panthers 17  2nd - 6:29Dec 14 5:18 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DENVER 10 10
    CAROLINA 10 10 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DEN - TD, P.J. POPE 7 YD PASS FROM JAY CUTLER
    (MATT PRATER KICK), 4:02. Drive: 9
    plays, 61 yards in 4:02. Key plays:
    Cutler 9-yard pass to Stokley on
    3rd-and-5 Carolina 47; Cutler
    11-y

    Dec 14 5:02 PM


  • NFL
    FG CAR
    JOHN KASAY 39 YD
    DENVER 10
    CAROLINA 10 0:11 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Broncos 10, Panthers 10  1st - 0:11Dec 14 5:00 PM


  • NFL
    FG DEN
    MATT PRATER 43 YD
    DENVER 10
    CAROLINA 7 3:37 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Broncos 10, Panthers 7  1st - 3:37Dec 14 4:46 PM


  • NFL
    TD CAR
    STEVE SMITH 15 YD PASS FROM JAKE DELHOMME
    (JOHN KASAY KICK)
    DENVER 7
    CAROLINA 7 8:21 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Broncos 7, Panthers 7  1st - 8:21Dec 14 4:35 PM


  • NFL
    TD DEN
    P.J. POPE 7 YD PASS FROM JAY CUTLER
    (MATT PRATER KICK)
    DENVER 7
    CAROLINA 0 10:58 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Broncos 7, Panthers 0  1st - 10:58Dec 14 4:28 PM
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    Broncos 0, Panthers 0  1st - 14:51Dec 14 4:25 PM
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    Broncos vs. PanthersDec 14 4:14 PM
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    Broncos vs. PanthersDec 14 3:41 AM
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    Broncos vs. PanthersOct 11 2:49 AM