YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Panthers Able to Win by a Foot

September 08, 1997|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — The Carolina Panthers needed a victory. They weren't going for style points.

After losing all four exhibition games and the season opener, the defending NFC West champions won Sunday without scoring a touchdown. John Kasay kicked his third field goal of the fourth quarter as time ran out and the Panthers defeated the Atlanta Falcons, 9-6.

"An ugly win is just as good as a pretty win," said Carolina quarterback Steve Beuerlein, who filled in again for the injured Kerry Collins and prevented the Panthers from an starting to the regular season at 0-2.

Kasay's winning kick from 39 yards almost didn't happen.

The Panthers didn't have any timeouts when Muhsin Muhammad caught a five-yard pass from Beuerlein along the left sideline and failed to get out of bounds at the Atlanta 21 with about 15 seconds remaining.

Carolina rushed to the line and waited for the officials to place the ball as the clock ticked toward 0:00. Beuerlein took the snap and slammed the ball to the turf with one second remaining, then trotted to the sideline with his hands on his helmet in obvious relief.

"This one was a little too exciting," said Beuerlein, 21-for-35 for 268 yards despite being sacked six times. "I did not want to get it down to one second. But what a great way to end it."

Atlanta (0-2) lost its starting quarterback in the second quarter when Chris Chandler wobbled off the field because of a concussion. Billy Joe Tolliver, playing in his first NFL game since 1994, showed his rustiness by completing seven of 17 passes for 79 yards.

Still, thanks to a stifling defensive performance for the second week in a row, the Falcons held a 6-0 lead after three quarters, limiting the Panthers to 153 yards while Morten Andersen kicked two field goals.

But Beuerlein, relying heavily on tight end Wesley Walls, put together three drives in the fourth that moved into Kasay's range.

Los Angeles Times Articles