Penalties and blown coverage sink Patriots, 33-30

FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) – Bad secondary play and ill-timed penalties sunk a late Patriots rally Sunday in Foxboro as they fell to the Panthers 33-30.

Danny Amendola caught a 1-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to tie the score at 30, and Carolina started their next possession at their 24 with just over three minutes to play.

The Patriots sacked Cam Newton on the ensuing third down, but the play was wiped out by a penalty on Stephon Gilmore, who was flagged for illegal hands to the face, giving the Panthers a fresh set of downs.

A few plays later, Patrick Chung was flagged to push the Panthers slightly further into field goal range.

Graham Gano hit a 48-yard field goal with less than a minute left to seal the win for Carolina.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was 22 of 29 pass attempts for 316 yards and three touchdowns, outdueling Tom Brady and the league’s most potent offense. Brady was 32 of 45 for 307 yards and two touchdowns.

The Patriots secondary was in disarray for most of the game, blowing coverage and leaving Panthers recievers open. Devin Funchess hauled in two of the three Panthers touchdowns.

It was a disappointing end to a game that also saw Stephen Gostkowski set a new person and Patriots record with a 58-yard field goal at the end of the first half. Rob Gronkowski also passed Troy Brown in total yards by a Patriots receiver, taking over third place all-time.