Snap Judgments: Pats win, 20-10
|12.13.09 at 4:10 pm ET|
FOXBORO ‘ The Patriots just put the wraps on a 20-10 win over the Panthers at Gillette Stadium. (For a complete recap, click here.) The victory gives New England an 8-5 record, its first win since Nov. 22 and a one-game lead in the AFC East, while Carolina drops to 5-8.
‘¢After a listless first half that resulted in a 7-7 tie after 30 minutes, the Patriots were able to take control by putting together a couple of nice second-half drives, including a 13-play, 96-yard drive that took 7:26 and gave New England a 14-7 lead with 1:06 left in the third quarter.
‘¢The key to that drive was the work of wide receiver Wes Welker, who provided the bulk of the offense on the series (five catches) and managed to breathe life into a relatively flat Gillette Stadium with his effort. After one of his second-half catches, he got up and waved his hands over his head, exhorting the fans to make some noise. They did.
‘¢New England won despite committing three turnovers ‘ one Tom Brady interception, as well as lost fumbles by Randy Moss and Sammy Morris. It was all part of a forgettable afternoon for Moss, who had just one catch for 16 yards ‘ he had a dropped ball, and a fumble, and had a ball meant for him picked off by Carolina cornerback Chris Gamble.
‘¢On defense, New England had a solid afternoon. The Patriots limited Carolina to 14 first downs and one rather fluky touchdown, and kept the Panthers‘ vaunted running game in check despite the fact that nose tackle Vince Wilfork went down with a foot injury and defensive lineman Ty Warren went down with an ankle injury. Leigh Bodden and Darius Butler had nice pass breakups. Pierre Woods and Rob Ninkovich filled in for Adalius Thomas at the outside linebacker spot.
‘¢Good day for the Patriots kicking game ‘ Stephen Gostkowski connected on field goal attempts of 48 and 47 yards in the fourth quarter that provided enough of a cushion down the stretch for New England.
‘¢Stat standouts on the afternoon include running back Laurence Maroney, who had 94 rushing yards. Quarterback Tom Brady was 19-for-32 for 192 yards and one touchdown. In addition, wide receiver Wes Welker had 10 catches for 105 yards. On the other side of the football, Carolina quarterback Matt Moore had one good pass, a first half hookup with Steve Smith that went for a 41-yard touchdown pass. Smith ended up with a team-high 83 receiving yards, while the quarterback was 15-for-30 for 197 yards and running back DeAngelo Williams had 82 rushing yards.