Panthers Newton has daily reminder from Saints in his locker
In their franchise history, the Carolina Panthers have played exactly one season’s worth of games on “Monday Night Football.”
And if all the Panthers’ MNF games were put together in that one season, they probably would make the playoffs – Carolina is 10-6 in MNF games.
Here are five of the most notable MNF games the Panthers have played in their history. These aren’t necessarily my favorite five, and some certainly won’t appeal to Panthers fans. But they were all significant in franchise history and are listed in chronological order:
Sept. 29, 1997: San Francisco 34, Carolina 21. The Panthers’ first-ever MNF appearance didn’t work out well – 49ers quarterback Steve Young accounted for two touchdowns. A rare Carolina bright spot: a 17-yard touchdown catch by rookie wide receiver Rae Carruth.
Oct. 3, 2005: Carolina 32, Green Bay 29. Brett Favre nearly pulled off a miracle. Carolina led 32-13 early in the fourth quarter before Favre led the Packers to 16 straight points and got the ball back one final time, only to lose it on downs at the Panthers’ 41 when the Carolina defense held.
Dec. 4, 2006: Philadelphia 27, Carolina 24. The Panthers had a first-and-goal at Philadelphia’s 7 with 28 seconds left, but Jake Delhomme threw a fade pass to Keyshawn Johnson – who not only didn’t catch it, but allowed Lito Sheppard to intercept it.
Nov. 18, 2013: Carolina 24, New England 20. Undoubtedly the favorite MNF game for most Panthers fans, this one featured Luke Kuechly getting called for pass interference in the end zone against Rob Gronkowski on the last play of the game. Then the flag was waved off, and a Panthers interception stood instead. An Observer reader nicknamed it the “Immaculate Perception;” another called it “Robbed Gronkowski.”
Nov. 13, 2017: Carolina 45, Miami 21. Carolina’s most recent appearance on MNF featured a huge game from Cam Newton (four TD passes), who almost always plays well on Monday nights.
▪ If you think the Panthers play New Orleans a lot, they do. The Saints are Carolina’s most common opponent. By the end of this season the two will have played each other 49 times, and the series could hardly be closer. Right now, entering this “two Saints games in 13 days” span, Carolina leads the series, 24-23.
▪ Prediction time: The Panthers (6-7) have lost five straight, and I’ve picked them to end that losing streak for two weeks in a row. Those misfires dropped me to 8-5 for the season. I’m not making that mistake three weeks in a row, even with Cam Newton’s broom motivation.
And besides, unless you have an incredible pass rush (which Carolina doesn’t), the Saints are unstoppable. My prediction: New Orleans 37, Carolina 24.