A brief clock malfunction at Bank of America Stadium – which apparently confused some players – might have worked to the Carolina Panthers' advantage during their 27-23 victory Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
The scoreboard clock wasn't working late in the second quarter as the Cardinals set up for a 38-yard field goal attempt by Neil Rackers. Panthers coach John Fox, concerned the clock was continuing to run and that his team might not have much time on offense after the kick, called a timeout with (according to the officials) 1minute, 14seconds remaining in the half.
Although Rackers continued with the kick, the Cardinals had to line up again.
In the confusion over how much time was left, Panthers safety Charles Godfrey thought the Cardinals – not Fox – had taken the timeout. Godfrey said after the game that he thought Arizona did so to set up a fake field goal.
That's what happened. Holder Dirk Johnson threw a short pass to Jerame Tuman, who was tackled by an alert Godfrey.
“It kind of looked like (our players) didn't realize we had called timeout,” said Fox. “It was hard for our players to keep track because of the clock malfunction. They weren't really sure. I'm sure glad (Godfrey) was tipped off. Whether it was our timeout or not, I'm glad he knew it. It was a big swing.”
Fox said there were no injuries coming out of the Cardinals game. He said he was “as relatively confident as you can be” that tackle Jeff Otah and center Ryan Kalil will be available for the next game, Nov.9 at Oakland.
Otah has missed four games with an ankle injury; Kalil has missed three, also with a bad ankle.
This is the Panthers' bye week and it comes at the season's halfway point.
“If I was voting on it, it'd be like this all the time,” Fox said.
“I think it's an ideal time, but sometimes it might not be ideal. You might be really healthy and on a roll. It comes at a good time at Game4 if you've got a bunch of injuries. It's unpredictable.”
Fox said the Saturday morning traffic accident involving backup defensive tackle Darwin Walker was more serious than the fender bender that was originally reported. Walker had soreness in his neck Monday that prevented him from playing against the Cardinals.
Fox thinks officials made the right call on receiver Steve Smith's tight-roping 65-yard touchdown reception, which the Cardinals challenged because they thought he stepped out of bounds.
“It looked like (his heel) was in the air to me and it never touched anything,” Fox said. “I think the officials concurred. Again, they're not going to catch every little detail, even with replay.”
The Panthers, 5-0 at Bank of America Stadium this season, have outscored opponents 82-20 during the second half at home.
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