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Pro Football Week 12 | CAROLINA 24, ST. LOUIS 20

Panthers' Carrier Delivers

November 23, 1998|From Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Thanks to Mark Carrier, the Carolina Panthers aren't alone at the bottom of the NFL anymore.

The Panthers were on the verge of squandering a 17-point lead Sunday when Roman Phifer of the St. Louis Rams intercepted a pass from Steve Beuerlein at the Panther 43 and steamed toward the end zone for the apparent game-winning score.

"I thought I was home free," Phifer said.

But Carrier stripped Phifer of the ball at the five, Panther center Frank Garcia covered the fumble in the end zone for a touchback with 2:41 to play and the Panthers escaped with a 24-20 victory.

Fittingly, the Panthers gave the game ball to Carrier, who knew he had little chance of bringing down Phifer in time and decided his best shot was to knock the ball loose.

"If I try to tackle him, he's just going into the end zone," Carrier said. "So it's get the ball or nothing."

As it turned out, it was everything. The Panthers joined the Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins at 2-9.

"We've had our share where the breaks went against us this year," said defensive end Sean Gilbert, who had a sack and forced a fumble. "It's about time we got some breaks."

The Rams, 8-19 under Dick Vermeil, were hoping it was their turn.

"It's just kind of been the story of this year," Phifer said. "We had great expectations for this team. I've got to try to shake it off, but right now it hurts."

The Rams (3-8) lost for the 10th time in their last 11 home games as well as losing quarterback Tony Banks, who suffered a sprained right ankle and took himself out of the game.

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