Panther faithful, today I take you back to January 18th, 2004. It was a cold Philadelphia evening when the Carolina Panthers, the 'Cardiac Cats' entered Lincoln Financial Field, or 'The Linc' the overwhelming underdogs in the NFC Championship game.
The week before the Panthers won a stunning double overtime game finishing with arguably the greatest singular play in Carolina history... 'X Clown' the thrilling PA pass to Steve Smith over the middle in St. Louis to end the divisional championship game. But, as Carolina headed to Philly to see Donovan McNabb, Duece Staley and the best secondary in all of football people thought Carolina were dead and buried...
People thought wrong.
Much of the first quarter was a defensive battle, but in the second the Panthers broke through striking first on a 24 yard pass from Jake Delhomme to Muhsin Muhammad to take a 7-0 lead. However, that touchdown wasn't the turning point.
As the second half was coming to a close the Panthers were in a struggle with the Eagles, but in the end it wasn't that Philly didn't have the heart, they didn't have the ribs. Less than four minutes remaining on the clock S Mike Minter hit McNabb with on a huge blitz that left the QB battered and broken. An accumulation of several hits caught up with the Eagles QB and ultimately broke one of his ribs leaving him unable to continue.
The Panthers entered halftime with a 7-3 lead, but with McNabb on the sideline for the second quarter and Koy Detmer under center it didn't matter than Delhomme only passed for 101 yards. The game was sealed in the 4th quarter as DeShaun Foster in his greatest run as a Carolina Panthers got into the end zone by an act of sheer will and determination.
The Carolina Panthers went on to win 14-3 and secure their first ever trip to the Superbowl.