The Panther's finally got their revenge from Super Bowl XXXVIII as the Pats got out-matched and out-muscled to the tune of a 27-17 loss. "You can't keep shooting yourself in the foot and expect to keep making plays," said Rodney Harrison, making reference to New England's 12 penalties for 86 yards. "Carolina played a better game that we did. We had opportunities but we didn't take advantage of them. We made mistakes, dumb penalties, missed tackles, dropped passes. We dropped a couple of balls that should have been interceptions. I could name so many different things. Some days you just have to chalk it up to having a bad day, but learn from it and move on. [You have to] see where you went wrong and where you can get better. There's room for every guy in this room to get better. That's what we plan on doing." Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe, Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald, Tom Curran of the Providence Journal, Mark Farinella of the Sun Chronicle, Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant, and Skip Wood of USA Today all offer a recap of the Pats loss to the Panthers.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald writes that at first glance the Panthers looked like a mirror image of the Patriots, but yesterday the reflection was unkind as Panthers got the better of the Patriots in all aspects of the game. "Right now, until we prove otherwise, we're just an average team,"linebacker Willie McGinest said. "You're not a good football team until you can go into hostile environments and play consistently good football week in and week out. Until we do that, we're just like everyone else."
Jemal Horton of the Boston Globe writes that the Panthers defense never rested throughout the game. Panther's defensive backs punished Patriots wide receivers all day with hard hits while the front line focused on shutting down Corey Dillon. Dillon was held to his lowest rushing totals as a Patriot with 36 yards of 14 carries. "I think they played a very good game and totally brought it to us," Patriots center Dan Koppen said. "On the other hand, we didn't help ourselves with dumb penalties and mistakes. . . . People were making a lot of mental lapses. And when you start first and 15, which we probably did three or four times, it's hard to make that ground up against a good defense like Carolina."
John Powers of the Boston Globe and Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald both write that Patriots QB Tom Brady had a lackluster performance against the Panthers completing 23 passes on 44 attempts for 270 yards with a touchdown, interception and a fumble. The stats are somewhat deceiving as Brady was often seen overthrowing wide open receivers and his two miscues of a fumble and an interception led to 10 Carolina points. "The execution. The passing game. There were too many penalties. We didn't run the ball very well. It was all the way around. It was every position. I know it starts with the quarterback. I didn't play well enough to win today," said Brady.
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that the Patriots continued their subpar play in the kicking game. The Patriots allowed the Panthers an average of 21.3 yards on six punt returns, and 26.3 yards on four kickoff returns, giving them an avergage starting position of their 38-yard line, compared to the Patriots' average start at their 22. Panthers' Chris Gamble had a 76-yard punt return which set up a second-quarter touchdown. ''It just comes down to guys making the play and being in position," Don Davis said. ''Myself, on the long punt return, I was totally out of position. "It comes down to everybody getting better. I take responsibility for it; the guys on this team will take responsibility for it. It has nothing to do with scheme or anything else. You just got to make the play."
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that Rodney Harrison promised results, not excuses after the Pats 27-17 loss to the Carolina Panthers. "We're 1-1, which means we have a lot of work to do, which was evident after the Oakland Raiders game last week," Harrison said. "If after we watch the film we don't correct ourselves and learn from all of our mistakes, we're going to keep losing games. We have an awfully tough one coming up [Sunday against Pittsburgh], so we'd better get it straightened out."
Ron Borges of the Boston Globe offers some commentary on the Pats loss to the Panthers. Borges writes that what the Patriots proved yesterday is what some of their more rabid fans have long since forgotten. They're human. Nothing worse than that. They had a bad day against a good team.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.
Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes.