Patriots lose on final-play field goal, 33-30, to Panthers

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Graham Gano kicked a 48-yard field goal on the game’s final play to lift the Carolina Panthers to a 33-30 victory over the New England Patriots Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.

Cam Newton directed the Panthers on the game-winning drive after the Patriots had tied the game with back-to-back touchdowns. Carolina went 46 yards in 10 plays leading to Gano’s winning kick. The drive was aided by a crucial hands-to-the-face penalty on New England’s Stephon Gilmore that wiped out a third-down sack and gave the Panthers a first down.

The Patriots, regarded by many as odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl again, dropped to 2-2 and 1-2 at Gillette Stadium.

Carolina improved to 3-1.

Trailing 30-27 and needing a big play on defense, the Patriots got it from – who else? – Dont’a Hightower. His 12-yard sack of Cam Newton led to the Panthers first punt of the game. That led to the game-tying touchdown, a 1-yard pass from Tom Brady to Danny Amendola with 3:09 remaining. Stephen Gostkowski kicked the PAT that made it 30-30.

Carolina led 23-16 into the fourth after Cam Newton hit Devin Funchess for a 16-yard touchdown pass (Graham Gano’s PAT kick was wide left) and quickly extended the lead.

Starting the fourth on a third-and4 play from the Carolina 42, Newton found a wide-open Kelvin Benjamin for a 39-yard gain. That led to a 7-yard touchdown run by Newton, plus a PAT by Gano, and the Panthers led 30-16 with 12:58 left.

New England got back into it with an 8-yard touchdown run by Dion Lewis with 8:46 left that made it 30-23.

The Patriots trailed 17-16 at the half, and that was only because Stephen Gostkowski kicked a team-record 58-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter. That was set up b y a 26-yard completion from Brady to Chris Hogan with four seconds left.

The Patriots pass defense was atrocious in the first half, allowing Cam Newton to pass from 189 yards and two touchdowns – both to wide-open receivers.

Trailing 10-3, Newton hit running back Fozzy Whittaker on the left with a screen pass from the 28. Whittaker turned upfield and saw no Patriots in front of him and he eased in for the tying score.

After Gostkowski gave the Patriots a 13-10 lead with a 35-yard field goal.

Then Newton drove the Panthers in for a go-ahead score. He hit a wide-open Kelvin Benjamin for 43 yards. Then he found Devin Funchess for a 10-yard touchdown with 26 seconds left in the half. Funchess got a free release at the line of scrimmage and was wide open in the left corner.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

mlowe@pressherald.com

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

Source: Portland pressPatriots lose on final-play field goal, 33-30, to Panthers