T-minus 57 days and counting – Week One of the 2012 NFL season is less than two months away! To help fill the time between now and that greatly anticipated event, I am continuing to look back on some of the games the Broncos have had against their 2012 opponents. Week Ten of the 2012 season sends the Broncos on the road for the second consecutive week when they travel to Charlotte, North Carolina to face the Carolina Panthers. Let’s hope the Broncos’ second regular season road trip to Carolina has much different results than the first trip!
December 14, 2008: The Broncos’ one and only visit to Carolina to face the John Fox led Panthers was not a pleasant one, given the final score – a 30 to 10 drubbing by the eventual NFC South Champions. All of the Broncos points, a 7-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler to P.J. Pope and a 43-yard Matt Prater field goal, came in the first quarter. The Broncos’ slim 10-7 lead evaporated when Carolina kicker, John Kasay, successfully kicked a 39-yard field goal a few seconds before halftime; tying the score at 10-10. From that point on, it was all Carolina Panthers as they put up another twenty points, highlighted by a 56-yard touchdown run by DeAngelo Williams near the end of the third quarter. The Carolina loss, which was the sixth loss of the season for the Broncos, was the start of a three game skid that led to an 8-8 season, missing the playoffs, and the firing of Mike Shanahan.
In addition to the 2008 contest, the Broncos have faced the Panthers two times in Denver, Colorado. The first game occurred in 1997 and was only the third season for the Carolina Panthers; however, the Panthers were coming off a 12-4 season and a division championship. The Broncos made easy work of the Panthers by soundly defeating the Panthers 34-0 on their way to the franchise’s first NFL Championship.
Seven years later, the teams would meet again, and this contest would turn out to be the closest game of the three. Trailing 17-13 with just over five minutes remaining in the game, Jake Plummer connected with Ashley Lelie for a 39-yard touchdown pass that would prove to be the game winner as the Broncos would hold on for a 20-17 victory!
Good luck in 2012 Broncos!