Patriots Claw Their Way Past Panthers

New England Snaps Two-Game Losing Streak

The New England Patriots went into Sunday’s matchup with the Carolina Panthers, playing their worst football since 2002– losers in three of their previous four games, and in dire need of a victory.

If it weren’t for Wes Welker, the Patriots may be looking at a three-way tie atop the AFC East. But with a 10-catch, 105 yard performance, his fifth consecutive 100-yard performance, Welker led the struggling New England Patriots past the Carolina Panthers with a 20-10 win at Gillette Stadium.

Welker’s 105 receptions on the season is the most receptions ever for a player in his first 11 games of a season.  The Patriots (8-5) avoided a serious setback at Foxborough as the Pats took on a struggling Panthers squad, playing without injured quarterback Jake Delhomme.  New England struggled early on to take advantage of backup Matt Moore’s mistakes and their own mistakes had them in a hole late in the second quarter.  They trailed 7-0 late in the second quarter before a Kevin Faulk touchdown-run knotted things up before half-time.

Luckily for the Patriots and Benjamin Watson, the Panthers could never string enough good plays together as Watson put the Patriots up for good with a TD reception in the third quarter.  Two 40+ yard field-goals in the fourth quarter from Stephen Gostkowski wrapped the game up for Bill Belichick.  Belichick’s win, however, wasn’t with controversy as Carolina corner-back Chris Gamble called out Randy Moss for his play on Sunday, stating that Moss was “dogging it” and giving up on his routes.

It was discouraging words, even from an opponent, for Belichick and company as the team thought it was removed from a week of turmoil and distraction as Belichick sent four players, including Moss, home early from team facilities on Wednesday because the players showed up late for morning meetings.  

Even with the Moss distraction and benching of Adalius Thomas, the Patriots are in control of their own destiny as the Pats head to Buffalo next Sunday to take on the Bills (5-8) at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Due, in large part, to the play of Mr. Wes Welker.

(Getty Images) (Getty Images)

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