CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Despite mounting a thrilling fourth-quarter comeback Sunday at Bank of America Stadium, the Panthers fell short in overtime to the Vikings, 34-28, dropping their third straight game after winning the first three to start the season.
Trailing by 8 with under 2 minutes to play in the 4th quarter, Carolina (3-3) mounted a thrilling comeback. Sam Darnold first connected on a 42-yard pass with receiver Ian Thomas to keep Carolina alive on 4th and 10 from their own 4-yard line. The Panthers would again find themselves facing 4th and long when DJ Moore and Darnold connected for a first and goal with 46 seconds to go. Darnold then found Anderson in the endzone and the Panthers would also score on the 2-point conversion to tie it at 28-28 with 42 seconds left.
Vikings kicker Greg Joseph missed a game-winning field goal with 6 seconds left forcing overtime. Minnesota (3-3) had possession to start OT when Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook forced his way to the Panthers 25 yard line. KJ Osborn would catch a spectacular 27-yard pass from Kirk Cousins in the endzone to secure the win, 34-28.
Momentum swung in the second half when the Panthers regained the lead in the 3rd quarter. After both teams struggled to score, it was fitting the Panthers would score with special teams on a blocked punt. Safety Kenny Robinson recovered and ran it in for the score and a 17-12 lead.
Minnesota responded immediately marching 79 yards down the field, punctuated by a 16-yard rushing TD from Cook and Minnesota regained the lead, 18-17. They failed to convert on their second 2-point conversion attempt on the day.
The Panthers woes continued with a lost fumble on the next series of plays. Cousins would throw his second TD pass, this time to Adam Thielen, to take a 25-17 lead with 2:24 left in the 3rd quarter. A 4th quarter FG would make it 28-20.
The Panthers trailed 12-10 at halftime.
Right out of the gates to start the game, the Panthers stumbled as Darnold threw an interception on the first play of the game with Robby Anderson as the intended receiver. Minnesota would strike first and convert on the Carolina turnover with a 3-yard field goal to make it 3-0.
Midway through the first quarter, the Panthers responded with a touchdown when Chuba Hubbard, filling in for the Panthers injured Pro Bowl RB Christian McCaffrey, punched it in from two yards to put them infront 7-3. The Vikings would kick another field goal on their next possession.
With 11:05 to play in the 2nd quarter, Cousins connected with Chris Herndon on a 2-yard pass to take a 12-7 lead. A 2-point conversion attempt failed.
The Panthers responded with a 47-yard FG from Zane Gonzalez to make it 12-10 with 4:25 to go in the half
Darnold finished with 1 TD, INT, 207 yards on 17-41 attempts. The offense continued to struggle to put up points. Hubbard led the team rushing with 61 yards on 16 carries while Moore led in receiving yards with 73 yards on 5 catches.
The Panthers will face the New York Giants on the road next Sunday (1 pm, Fox 46 Charlotte).