5 best playoff wins in Carolina Panthers’ franchise history

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Cam Newton
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Cam Newton /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) DeShaun Foster /

No. 4 – Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles (2004)

The Carolina Panthers advanced to the 2004 NFC Championship game with wins in the wild card round over the Dallas Cowboys (29-10) and the St. Louis Rams (29-23, 2OT).

Running back Deshaun Foster scored on a one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to extend the Panthers’ lead to 14-3, which would ultimately be the final score. The game is largely remembered for that one play but cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. was the real star of Carolina’s first NFC Championship.

For the third year, the Philadelphia Eagles were denied a Super Bowl berth.

The Panthers’ defense viscously and physically attacked the Eagles’ offense the entire game. Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb was sacked five times, constantly under pressure suffering the wrath of Carolina’s pass rush. A second-quarter sack by Mike Rucker injured the signal-caller and ultimately led to him leaving the game during the fourth quarter.

McNabb finished the game just 10-for-22 for 100 years with three interceptions. Manning Jr. tied the NFC Championship record for interceptions in a game by being on the receiving end on each of the picks.

The interception party didn’t end there. When McNabb exited the game in the fourth quarter, he was replaced by backup quarterback Koy Detmer.

Detmer quickly moved the Eagles down the field to the Panthers’ 11-yard-line. Dan Morgan picked off a pass over the middle and the rest is history.

Although the Foster touchdown is the memory that is most prominent, on this day, it was truly the Panthers’ defense that won the day, the NFC Championship, and advanced to face the New England Patriots.