Saturday, December 4, 2021

Pats lock down Darnold, Panthers, Cruise for 24-6 win

Charlotte. NC (NWN) – Mack Jones overcame two early turnovers and threw for 139 yards and a touchdown, Jesse Jackson returned one of three Sam Darnold interceptions for an 88-yard touchdown and the New England Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers 24-6 on Sunday. This is his fourth win in the last five matches.

Running back rookie Ramondre Stevenson had 106 yards to go before leaving the game with a head injury and Damien Harris and Hunter Henry scored touchdowns as the Patriots (5-4) improved to 4-0 on the road.

Darnold had another miserable trip to Carolina. He completed 16 of 33 runs in 172 yards with three picks after the Panthers (4-5) reached the red zone, two by Jackson. Darnold has been intercepted nine times and thrown only one touchdown in four career games against the Bill Belichick-coached Patriots.

Unlike two weeks earlier, Panthers coach Matt Roulette did not bench Darnold in the second half despite interceptions on three straight assets. As has been the case for most of the year, Darnold spent most of the game under heavy pressure after losing starting center Matt Paradis and avoiding injury to Cameron Irving in the first half.

Even Christian McCaffrey’s return from a five-match absence could not help Carolina’s offense. Christian McCaffrey had 14 carries for 52 yards and four passes for 54 yards in his return to the starting lineup.

But Carolina’s only points came courtesy of its defense, which forced two Jones turnovers in the New England area in the first half – one from Brian Burns’ sack-fumble and the other when former Patriots cornerback Stephen Gilmore made an interception.

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The Panthers trailed 14-6 in the first half after a lead of just 65 yards.

The game changed for good in the third quarter. The Panthers reached the Patriots 20, but Darnold rolled out of the pocket on a second down play and overthrew Ian Thomas. Jackson intercepted the ball and ran 88 yards to the middle of the field for a touchdown.

Things continued to settle from there, with Darnold taking on his next two properties, including another in the end zone by Jackson. After that interception, wide receiver Robbie Anderson chased Darnold off the field, threw his helmet toward the bench and proceeded to give the quarterback an ear as he twice passed him over the edge.


Patriots: Running backs Damien Harris and Ramondre Stevenson and wide receiver Gunner Olszewski left the game with head injuries and did not return. Harris’ injury went out of hand in the game in the fourth quarter. Tight end Jonu Smith injured his shoulder in the second half.

Panthers: Defensive end Brian Burns injured his right ankle late in the fourth quarter and did not return. Cornerback Rashan Melvin suffered a hand injury. Melvin Paradis injured his left knee in Carolina’s second play from scrimmage and was taken to the locker room. Irving injured his calf later in the first half and did not return.


Patriots: Host Brown next Sunday.

Panthers: Visit the Cardinals next Sunday.


More NWN NFL coverage: and


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