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 Jeff Gross/Getty Images) Stephen Davis /

No. 1 Carolina Panthers at St. Louis Rams (2004)

Have you heard this one before? The Carolina Panthers blow a late lead.

There were some similarities between the first two seasons of the Panthers’ franchise under Dom Capers and John Fox. In their first years, both coaches led Carolina to a 7-9 record, and then followed up in their second with first-place finishes in their division and a playoff berth.

Fox, unlike Capers, didn’t enjoy a first-round bye and had to open his first playoff run with the team in the Wild Card Round, where the Panthers ultimately defeated the Dallas Cowboys 29-10.

That victory set up a Divisional Round matchup against the St. Louis Rams on the road. With 2:39 left in the fourth quarter, the Panthers led the Rams 23-12. In the time remaining, the home team scored on a late touchdown from Marshall Faulk and this was swiftly followed by a two-point conversion.

The Rams recovered an onside kick and were able to tie the game on a 33-yard field goal.

Carolina could have won the game during the first possession of overtime as John Kasay made a 40-yard field goal but the offensive was called for a delay of game. The kicker missed from 45 yards on the next play.

With the Rams moving the Panthers’ defense down the field, Ricky Manning Jr. took a pass away from Torry Holt for an interception, setting the Panthers up at their own 38.

Three plays later, on the first play of the second overtime, the legendary X-Clown was born.

On on a third-and-14, quarterback Jake Delhomme and wide receiver Steve Smith connected on a 69-yard touchdown that won the game, 29-23. Simply the most electrifying play in Carolina Panthers’ history. Only a Super Bowl win could top this play and game as the best playoff win moving forward.