Panthers Stave Off Raiders As Peppers, RB Lead Team to Victory

Matthew GilmartinSenior Analyst INovember 10, 2008

DeAngelo Williams rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, and the Panthers' defense held the lowly Oakland Raiders' offense to six points as the Carolina Panthers won an ugly, sloppy, boring road game over the Raiders 17-6.

The highlight of the day for the Panthers' offense came on a 1st-and-10 from the their own 31 with 3:12 left in the second quarter. Williams busted through the middle of the line, shook off two defenders with a spin move, and raced 69 yards to the end zone for Carolina's second touchdown of the day. This score opened the Panthers' lead to 14 points.

QB Jake Delhomme and receiver Muhsin Muhammad connected for the Panthers' first touchdown from the Oakland three-yard line on the team's first possession of the game.  

But in general the Panthers' offense was horrid.  It was held to just 219 yards by one of the league's worst defenses.  Delhomme had the worst offensive performance; both in his career as a Panther and out of all the Panthers in the game.  He went 7-of-27 for 72 yards and a touchdown but four interceptions.  

Those four picks tie Sunday's game for the most interceptions Delhomme has thrown in a single game.  The last time he threw four picks in a game was in a 30-8 loss to the Eagles in 2004.

Carolina had the ball for a mere 22:58; hardly more than a third of the game. That's the least time of possession in any game this year.

RB Jonathan Stewart, who played despite a sore heel, continued to struggle. He gained only 21 yards on seven carries.  

Muhsin Muhammad was the Panthers' leading receiver with three catches for 38 yards and a touchdown. But he also dropped an easy pass that would have netted a first down late in the game. Four other Panthers caught one pass, including star receiver Steve Smith.  

Smith was mostly non-existent. He made one key block so Williams could get a first down, but Oakland corner Nnamdi Asomugha out-positioned him twice and picked the pass off the first time, the other time creating an opportunity for defensive back Rashad Baker to intercept a terribly under-thrown ball.

The Panthers' extreme ineptitude was even more obvious because of the Raiders' passionate defensive play. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall was released late last week, and that move went a long way toward getting the Raiders' defense fired up to play a great game.

Carolina placekicker John Kasay missed a 54-yard field goal with four seconds left in the first half, ending his streak of 21 consecutive field goals that started last year. He was one successful try away from tying the longest streak of his career.

The Panthers' defense is what really won the game.  DE Julius Peppers was a force, notching three sacks, seven tackles, and pass deflection in addition to several hurries and knockdowns.

It held the Raiders to six points.

With starting RB Darren McFadden sitting out because of a toe injury, the only real offensive threat Oakland had was backup running back Justin Fargas, who picked up 89 yards on 22 carries.

QB Andrew Walters, who started in place of injured starter JaMarcus Russel, was 14-of-32 for 143 yards and two interceptions.

The Raiders' leading receiver, Michael Bush, had five receptions for 43 yards. All other Oakland receivers three or fewer passes.

Placekicker Sebastian Janikowski scored all six of Oakland's points on two field goals.  The second successful attempt allowed him to pass Hall of Famer George Blanda (863) for the Raiders' franchise record in career points scored by an individual player.  On a 46-yard field goal in the third quarter Janikowski scored his 865th point as a Raider, breaking the record. 

The Raiders also beat themselves quite a bit. They committed 10 penalties amassing 83 yards.  Most of these penalties came on pivotal offensive plays during drives that had the potential to earn Oakland some points, but each time the Raiders shot themselves in the foot and took their own chances to score away. 

Oakland punter Shane Lechler punted 11 times, which was tied for the second-most number of punts in a single game with Mike Eischeid. Eischeid accomplished the "feat" on Nov. 20, 1966. 

On a day on which the Panthers' offense delivered easily their worst offensive performance (yes, even worse than the three-point effort against Tampa Bay in Week Six), and the Raiders' defense played by far their most inspired game of the season, the Panthers were lucky to leave Oakland with a win. 

But the defense came through, and hey, a win's a win. The Panthers are just lucky that they played their worst game in recent memory against a broken team missing a key starter.