YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Davis Applies Finishing Touch

October 06, 2003|From Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Stephen Davis was fighting cramps alone in the locker room, determined to get back on the field and finish the best start in Carolina Panther history.

Davis made it back out after taking intravenous fluids to run for a final 10 yards that sealed the Panthers' 19-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, moving Carolina to 4-0 for the first time.

"My goal was just to come back and finish," Davis said. "When I got out there, I didn't say anything in the huddle. They told me, 'Let's get it.' "

Davis, who finished with 159 yards and a one-yard touchdown run, headed to the locker room with the Panthers leading 19-10 late in the fourth quarter.

The Saints (1-4) cut it to 19-13 on John Carney's 26-yard field goal with 1 minute 43 seconds to play, and Carolina needed one more first down to secure the victory.

The Panthers knew it was time for Davis.

Davis gained the 10 yards on three consecutive runs. When he gained the first down in his 30th carry -- allowing quarterback Jake Delhomme to take a knee on the last two plays -- Delhomme excitedly pounded on his teammates' helmets to celebrate.

"Stephen Davis is the best thing that has ever happened to this football team," safety Mike Minter said. "Never before have we had a running back who could just grind the game out for us and it's a pleasure watching him seal it for us."

There's little flash or fanfare to this team, just a steady dose of Davis in every game.

Signed in the off-season, Davis set an NFL record as the first back to pass the 100-yard mark in his first four games with a new team. With 565 yards rushing, he also set a record for most total yards with a new team, besting Ricky Williams' 460 yards in four games with Miami last season.

Rod Smart had the flashiest play for the Panthers, returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. John Kasay had field goals of 49 and 23 yards.

Delhomme finished 15 for 23 for 124 yards.

Los Angeles Times Articles