NFL: Panthers 17, Raiders 6
By Josh Dubow
OAKLAND, Calif. ó It’s been more than three decades since a quarterback played a game as poorly as Jake Delhomme did and still ended up on the winning side.
That’s what facing a team as bad as the Oakland Raiders will do.
Delhomme threw a touchdown pass on the opening drive but completed only six other passes while throwing four interceptions in the Carolina Panthers’ 17-6 victory over the Raiders on Sunday.
“I’m so glad we won, because you want to talk about a long plane ride home? We just didn’t get this team going,” Delhomme said. “It wasn’t a good day offensively, but you know you’re going to have those days, and the great thing about it is we won.”
Delhomme, who had thrown only five interceptions in the first eight games for Carolina (7-2), finished 7-for-27 for 72 yards. The 26 percent completion rate was the worst in any of Delhomme’s 74 starts and he threw four interceptions for just the third time in his career.
He became just the second quarterback since the merger in 1970 to complete fewer than 30 percent of his passes and throw four interceptions in a victory, according to STATS LLC. Cincinnati’s Ken Anderson went 4-for-19 with four interceptions in a 14-10 victory over the Raiders on Oct. 19, 1975.
But against a Raiders team that hasn’t scored a touchdown in nine quarters, that was more than enough to keep Carolina in first place in the NFC South.
Delhomme has been a big part of Carolina’s success this season, throwing a go-ahead 65-yard TD pass to Steve Smith that helped the Panthers win their previous game, 27-23 over Arizona before their bye week.
“Jake knows he didn’t have a good day,” said defensive end Julius Peppers, who had three sacks. “He’s a veteran. We all have bad games. We thanked him last (game) for bailing us out against Arizona. We couldn’t stop nobody last (game), and they bailed us out.”
DeAngelo Williams ran for 140 yards and scored on a 69-yard run for the only touchdown after the opening drive for Carolina. John Kasay added a 32-yard field goal in the fourth quarter after a 55-yard punt return by Mark Jones.
Andrew Walter, playing in place of an injured JaMarcus Russell, threw two interceptions before leaving temporarily with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. Marques Tuiasosopo couldn’t do much better in his first appearance in more than two years as Oakland (2-7) lost for the fourth time in five games under interim coach Tom Cable.
Oakland has just nine touchdowns on the season and none in its past 135:36 of game action.
“We couldn’t catch a break,” said Walter, who went 14-for-32 for 143 yards. “It was tough as an offense. We couldn’t get into a rhythm all day. But I thought penalties put us in long down and distances.”
After Johnnie Lee Higgins fumbled the opening kickoff for the Raiders at the 16, Delhomme converted on a 3-yard touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad. That was the lone highlight of the day for Delhomme.
Delhomme threw three interceptions in his own territory, but the Panthers got the ball back after the first when Richard Marshall intercepted Walter in the end zone and forced field goals after three plays on the next two picks.
“It is frustrating to get those type of plays, and then three-and-out and you go right back on to the field,” cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said.
Sebastian Janikowski kicked field goals from 38 and 45 yards after two third-quarter turnovers. The first kick ended a scoring drought of 107:11 and the second gave Janikowski 865 career points, breaking George Blanda’s franchise record of 863. Janikowski missed a 58-yard field-goal attempt with 9 seconds remaining.
The Raiders managed to move the ball more effectively this week than they did when they gained only 77 yards in the worst offensive performance for the team in 47 years in last week’s 24-0 home loss to Atlanta. But with 10 penalties and five sacks, they weren’t able to make it into the end zone.
Carolina didn’t fare much better with Delhomme throwing a pair of interceptions on passes to Smith and Williams being held to 2 yards or fewer on seven of his first nine carries.
But Williams broke through late in the half, bursting up the middle and spinning out of a tackle attempt by safety Rashad Baker. He outran Thomas Howard to the end zone, making it 14-0 at the half.
“I was looking up at the JumboTron as I was running, and I could see somebody coming after me, so I was able to move around from side to side,” Williams said. “You’ve got to use everything on the field.”
NOTES: Kasay had made 21 straight FGs before missing a 54-yarder at the end of the first half. … Raiders C Jake Grove left in the first half with a leg injury and was replaced by Chris Morris. … Oakland P Shane Lechler averaged 50.5 yards on his 11 punts. His 556 yards punting were the third most since the merger, trailing Leo Araguz’s record of 709 for Oakland in 1998 and Rick Tuten’s 559 in 1993 for Seattle.
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