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CAROLINA 20, WASHINGTON 17

It Gets Personal for Davis

November 17, 2003|From Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Stephen Davis was careful all week to keep his dislike for the Washington Redskins bottled up. Scoring the winning touchdown Sunday against his former team finally allowed him to release it.

Davis screamed as he exited his postgame news conference, a jubilant cry after he lifted the Carolina Panthers to a 20-17 victory over the Redskins.

He downplayed the showdown with the Redskins and Coach Steve Spurrier, who phased him out of the offense last season before releasing him. After seven seasons, three of them 1,000-yard years, and two Pro Bowl appearances, Davis couldn't believe he was cast off.

So he set out for a "take that, Steve Spurrier" game and delivered with the winning score on a three-yard run with 1:09 remaining to help Carolina (8-2) continue its roll.

"It was personal, very personal," he said softly. "I spent seven years of my career there, and I know a lot of people there. It was very personal."

The Panthers knew that and were intent on not letting Washington (4-6) spoil Davis' day of redemption.

But he didn't get off to the greatest start, fumbling on his first carry -- he later chalked it up to nerves -- and spending long periods alone on the bench with a towel over his head as he rested the sprained ankle that sidelined him last week.

But after Patrick Ramsey put the Redskins up 17-13 with 4:19 to play on a 10-yard pass to Patrick Johnson, Davis stepped up to show Washington just what it gave up.

On fourth and one on the Carolina 38-yard line, nearly everyone in Ericsson Stadium expected a handoff. Instead, Jake Delhomme tossed to Davis, who scampered 25 yards up the sideline.

After a 30-yard completion to Steve Smith to the seven, it was all Davis. He broke a tackle at the line and used a second effort for a six-yard gain, then took another handoff and scored before the ball was knocked out of his hands.

Davis finished with 92 yards rushing in 28 carries, compared with the 54 yards rushing the Redskins managed. Davis now has 1,084 yards.

"What do you want me to say?" Spurrier said about Davis. "He's having a wonderful year, we all know that. He's an excellent back, we know that."

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