Monday, December 14, 2009 at 11:31AM
Pats Shut Down Panthers in second half, win 20-10
By Matt Waldman, TheSportsHatch.com writer
Wins haven't come easy for the Patriots lately and yesterday's 20-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers was no exception. But in a tight AFC East race, New England will certainly take it.
The Patriots didn't implode in the the second half, and Carolina just didn't have enough firepower to wrestle it away. Penalties were a problem for the Panthers who were flagged nine times for the length of a football field.
The best chance the Panthers had was the running game but the Pats defense did enough to hold DeAngelo Williams under 100 yards. As usual Wes Welker was Tom Brady's go-to guy all day, often making opposing linebackers look silly.
Brady managed the game, frequently handing off to Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk, and Sammy Morris who combined for 198 yards on the ground.
Oregon State product Matt Moore, starting his first NFL game since 2007 when he took over for an ineffective Vinny Testaverde, was decent but not good enough for the Panthers. He threw for a touchdown and didn't turn the ball over, but the Patriots defense kept Moore and Carolina in check.
The Patriots effectively utilized their tight ends, running many larger sets with Chris Baker who delivered several punishing blocks during the course of the game. Benjamin Watson also got involved in the action and broke a 7-7 tie following his 5-yard touchdown grab at 1:06 of the third quarter.
Randy Moss had his worst game as a Patriot, making only one catch, fumbling on a key possession, and dropping several balls. The future Hall-of-Famer seemed to be still trapped in the daze of "tardygate" from the week before. The Patriots hope he can snap out of it in time for next week important divisional game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.