Instant analysis from the Carolina Panthers’ 33-30 win at New England:
Graham Gano gets his redemption.
Remember when everyone wanted to fire Gano in the preseason and go with rookie kicker Harrison Butker?
Well, Gano went from goat to hero Sunday when he drilled a game-winning, 48-yard field goal as time expired.
Gano had missed a PAT earlier in the game that loomed large after the Patriots fought back to tie it at 30 in the final minutes.
But after Cam Newton drove the Panthers into scoring position, Gano was good from nearly the same distance that he missed from in Week 1 last season in Denver – a kick that set a bad tone for the year.
But not so for Gano on Sunday, as the Panthers got a big win on the road.
Cam Newton’s shoulder looks much better.
And so does his timing. After a bad first-quarter interception in which he threw deep into double coverage, Newton was in rhythm and played with confidence.
Newton completed 10 in a row after the interception and finished 22-of-29 for 316 yards and three touchdowns. He also was a weapon rushing, picking up a couple of key first downs on the ground and also rushing for a 7-yard touchdown.
Panthers’ defense not making enough big plays.
Carolina’s defense was pretty good for most of the day, but they couldn’t get off the field in the fourth quarter as Tom Brady directed a pair of touchdown drives.
Brady didn’t complete any long passes on the two late scoring drives. He mostly found the underneath holes in the Panthers’ secondary, which was missing Kurt Coleman after the safety hurt his knee in the first half.
The biggest concern for the Panthers is their failure to take the ball away. Sunday was their third game in a row without a forced turnover, their longest such stretch since 2006.