Half way through the 3rd quarter the Panther defense allowed the 49ers to score a TD and extend their lead to 10 points. The Panther offense needed to mount a drive to answer the TD or risk running out of time to come back. They proceeded to execute an 18 play drive that chewed up more than half of the third quarter and the net result was...a punt!
Take a look at the 49ers vs. Panthers game book detail for the 8 minute drive that resulted in absolutely nothing, a feat that had not been accomplished since 1999.
P.Dawson kicks 63 yards from SF 35 to CAR 2. T.Ginn to CAR 24 for 22 yards (D.Skuta; M.Wilhoite).
Carolina Panthers at 8:53, (1st play from scrimmage 8:45)
1-10-CAR 24 (8:45) C.Newton pass short right to G.Olsen to CAR 29 for 5 yards (A.Brooks).
2-5-CAR 29 (8:10) (Shotgun) M.Tolbert left tackle to CAR 33 for 4 yards (G.Dorsey; R.McDonald).
3-1-CAR 33 (7:31) (Shotgun) C.Newton right tackle to CAR 35 for 2 yards (R.McDonald). R10
1-10-CAR 35 (6:52) (Shotgun) C.Newton pass incomplete short middle to B.LaFell.
2-10-CAR 35 (6:46) (Shotgun) C.Newton pass short left to B.LaFell to CAR 44 for 9 yards (T.Brown).
3-1-CAR 44 (6:06) (Shotgun) M.Tolbert up the middle to CAR 47 for 3 yards (P.Willis; N.Bowman). Geoff Hangartner reports as eligible R11
1-10-CAR 47 (5:25) M.Tolbert up the middle to SF 48 for 5 yards (P.Willis; N.Bowman).
2-5-SF 48 (4:44) (Shotgun) C.Newton pass incomplete deep right to T.Ginn.
PENALTY on SF-T.Brock, Defensive Holding, 5 yards, enforced at SF 48 - No Play. X12
1-10-SF 43 (4:37) (Shotgun) D.Williams right tackle to SF 41 for 2 yards (D.Skuta).
PENALTY on CAR-G.Olsen, Illegal Formation, 5 yards, enforced at SF 43 - No Play.
1-15-SF 48 (4:10) (Shotgun) C.Newton scrambles up the middle to SF 43 for 5 yards (A.Smith).
2-10-SF 43 (3:22) (Shotgun) C.Newton pass short right to G.Olsen to SF 34 for 9 yards (N.Bowman).
3-1-SF 34 (2:41) C.Newton pass short right to B.LaFell ran ob at SF 29 for 5 yards. P13
1-10-SF 29 (2:03) C.Newton pass incomplete short right to D.Williams.
2-10-SF 29 (1:58) (Shotgun) C.Newton sacked at SF 37 for -8 yards (N.Bowman).
3-18-SF 37 (1:18) (Shotgun) C.Newton sacked at SF 45 for -8 yards (A.Brooks).
4-26-SF 45 (:40) B.Nortman punts 33 yards to SF 12, Center-J.Jansen, fair catch by L.James.
In summary we ran the ball four times, passed it (or tried too) 12 times and two were pre-snap penalties. So officially it was a 16 play drive that took 8:13 off the clock yet didn't even end in a FG try. The reason?
Those two last sacks at the end were absolute killers. The Panthers should have expected the blitz but were instead caught off guard. Otherwise it was going to be a successful drive. They had driven to the 29 yard line so a FG was a given. A given that is until the unthinkable happened. Two straight sacks that backed the Panthers up 16 yards and just out of Gano's range.
In the NFL playoffs you have to finish your drives if you expect to advance. During the regular season the Panthers ranked 10th in offense efficiency per Football Outsiders http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teameff but in this game they were terrible. The went an uncharacteristic 0-3 in the red zone. If they had instead scored two touchdowns...well, that's your game Panther fans.