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Losing Streak Is Over

September 09, 2002|From Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Players mobbed each other in a pile on the ground, new Coach John Fox jumped into the arms of his assistants, and the Carolina Panthers celebrated their first victory in 364 days.

The Panthers turned to their veterans for scoring and to their youth to save the game Sunday, beating Baltimore, 10-7, to end a losing streak at 15 games and give Fox a win in his head coaching debut.

It made for a jubilant celebration for a team and a town that had seemingly accepted losing. The Panthers set an NFL record by dropping their final 15 games last year.

"I'm going to enjoy it, this team is going to enjoy it, I hope the whole town enjoys it," said tight end Wesley Walls, who scored the Panthers' only touchdown.

"It just feels so incredible to finally win again and to finish a game and just put an end to all this misery."

The Ravens, two years removed from winning the Super Bowl, felt little shame in losing to Carolina, the worst team in the league last season.

"Carolina's record last year was just that--last year," said Coach Brian Billick. "I don't know how good Carolina is right now, but they are one of 16 teams that are going to be 1-0 at the end of the day."

John Kasay, the only original Panther on the roster, kicked a 27-yard field goal, and Walls, a member of Carolina's 1996 team that went to the NFC championship game, caught a 20-yard scoring pass from Rodney Peete.

But the Panthers had to sweat this one out after Kasay missed a 50-yard field goal with 2:00 left--enough time and a short enough field for the Ravens to pull it out.

But Chris Redman, making his first career start for the Ravens, had his third-down pass batted away by Julius Peppers, the second overall pick in this year's NFL draft.

The ball landed right in the hands of Dan Morgan for an interception. Morgan, Carolina's first-round pick a year ago, raced 22 yards downfield to preserve the Panthers' win.

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