It could have easily gone the other way, which was something the Carolina Panthers would have lamented for a long time.
Panthers cornerback Daryl Worley knew his team wasn’t giving the sort of inspired effort that they usually did in Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
‘It wasn’t how we planned it out, how anyone would plan it out’
As a result, the Panthers nearly found themselves with a loss. Instead, thanks to some late heroics from quarterback Cam Newton, they wound up winning, 22-19.
“It wasn’t how we planned it out, how anyone would plan it out,” Worley told Bill Lekas. “But we came out with us victorious and that’s all that matters. These are the toughest games, when you really don’t expect a team to give you that much. We knew that they were going to come out and give us their best shot, they were going to fight down to the end.
‘We made things harder than they had to be’
“We didn’t play with the type of momentum and type of attitude that we usually do. We made things harder than they had to be, but in the end we were able to finish and win it as a team.”
The Panthers’ defensive front held up its end, sacking Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston six times. However, Winston still managed to throw for 367 yards and a touchdown.
‘(Winston’s) going to fight down to the last whistle’
“We know he’s a great competitor,” Worley said. “He’s going to fight down to the last whistle. He’s able to move around in that pocket and that’s a very big thing for him, so when he’s able to extend plays with his legs, if you can take that away from him, that’s a huge part of his game that you’ve just got to prepare yourself for.”
After the Buccaneers missed a field goal with three minutes left, the Panthers took over at their own 41. Then, with 35 seconds left and on first-and-goal from the Tampa Bay 2, Newton ran, fumbled, recovered the ball on a bounce and took it in for the winning points.
“That’s just Cam for you,” Worley said. “We know, if we were able to get the ball back to him (he would produce a score). MVP quarterback. He’s going to go out there and do what he does. Literally, he made up for what the secondary didn’t do.”