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Ugly but a Win – Carolina Tops Oakland 17-6

The Panthers got a big win on the road in Oakland, but it was an ugly affair, and Jake Delhomme had one of the worst games of his career. This game was marred with plenty of turnovers and three and outs, from both teams. In fact, Raiders punter Shane Lechler kicked it away a career-high 11 times. The Raiders decided to get Jamarcus Russell out of the line of fire, and sent in Andrew Walter in hopes of moving the ball a little better than last week.

After last weeks’ abysmal effort, anything would be an improvement, and they actually were able to generate some offense today as Justin Fargas had 89 yards rushing, but they were held without a touchdown for the second straight week.

The game couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start for the Raiders, as Johnnie Lee Higgins fumbled the opening kick off, handing the Panthers excellent starting field position. The Panthers used the short field to get on the board first by way of a 3 yard touchdown reception from Muhsin Muhammed. That was as good as the Panthers passing game would get all day.

Jake Delhomme would end up throwing four interceptions on the day, and just could not get it going on this day. However, the Raiders offense was just as terrible, and they would wind up giving the ball back to the Panthers just as much. The one big play of this game came late in the first half, when Panthers running back DeAngelo Hall broke free for a 69 yard touchdown run. He was the lone offensive bright spot for Carolina with 140 yards rushing on the day, and the touchdown.

As bad as the first half was, the second half was even worse. The Raiders turned a couple of Jake Delhomme interceptions into two field goals, but besides that, nothing else really happened. Down 14-6 the Raiders were given plenty of chances to tie the game, but Andrew Walter could not rally the troops and drive down for the tying touchdown.

Finally, John Kasay’s 39 yard field goal with just under two minutes left put the game out of reach for good. The Panthers were able to put tons of pressure on Andrew Walter, and brought him down 5 times. Julius Peppers had 3 sacks on the day, to go along with 2 forced fumbles, and was a disruptive force for the defense.

The Panthers can’t be happy with this performance, but can take some solace in the fact that their defense got the job done, and even on Delhomme’s worst day the managed to come away with the win. The Panthers haven’t played this well since they made the Super Bowl, and they look in good position to get a bye through the first round of the playoffs. They play another bad team in the Detroit Lions next week at home, and must not overlook them, especially after their performance this Sunday.

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