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Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots produce records, but Tom Brady misses mark

By
Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws a pass in the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on September 24, 2017. File photo by Matthew Healey/UPI
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws a pass in the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on September 24, 2017. File photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tom Brady failed to tie Brett Favre and Peyton Manning for the most regular-season wins by a quarterback after the New England Patriots dropped a last-second 33-30 decision to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

But Brady's missed opportunity came on a day when records fell for both teams.

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For the Panthers, Cam Newton improved his career record to 54-40, passing Jake Delhomme for most wins by a Carolina quarterback. Newton was 22 of 29, throwing for three touchdowns (his first TD passes since the opener) and running for one -- becoming the first NFL quarterback to rush for 50 scores.

"He knew he was up against one of the all-time great QBs. He wanted to prove he could play with him," Carolina head coach Ron Rivera said.

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Defensive end Julius Peppers said, "I tell him before every game -- lead us. For us to win, he had to carry us. He was excellent."

Running back Jonathan Stewart, who had a huge 15-yard run on the game-winning drive, ran for 68 yards in the game, allowing him to pass DeAngelo Williams and become the team's career rushing leader with 6,868 yards.

"A lot of people counted us out of this game," Stewart said. "This locker room believed in each other and went out there and displayed that. We made a lot of plays, and a lot of times we put ourselves in situations, like my fumble (at the Patriots 9), trying to make it harder on ourselves.

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"At the end of the day, it's a team game and a team effort and that's what we did today."

On the New England side, Stephen Gostkowski ended the first half with a 58-yard field goal (that actually ticked the back of the crossbar and bounced through) for a Patriots record. He and Adam Vinatieri had both kicked 57-yarders. Gostkowski's previous home long was 54 yards in 2013.

Asked if he actually knew he was kicking a 58-yarder, Gostkowski said, "It's hard to tell, especially when you're on the paint, but you can tell afterward. I try not to think about that stuff going out there, especially on a day when the ball is flying. I'm not too worried about having enough leg to get it there.

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I'm just trying to hit it straight enough to have a chance. I try not to think about anything when I'm out there, but it's easier said than done."

Brady, who had his 79th career 300-yard game, moved into a tie with Fran Tarkenton for fourth place on career QB starts with 239 and will tie Dan Marino for third when the Patriots visit Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

Brady hit tight end Rob Gronkowski for 80 yards worth of passes, making him Brady's No. 1 receiver in yardage with 6,338. Gronkowski also moved past Troy Brown into third place on the team's career yardage list with 6,413. Wes Welker is next at 7,459.

New England's James White matched a career high with 10 catches, two shy of Shane Vereen's club record for a running back.

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