Cam Newton is now 2-0 against the New England Patriots.
He and the Carolina Panthers can thank the leg of Graham Gano for that.
After quarterback Tom Brady led the Patriots on two straight fourth-quarter touchdown drives to tie the score at 30, Newton and the Panthers got the ball back with 3 minutes, 9 seconds left. They milked the clock en route to setting up Gano’s 48-yard game-winning field goal as time expired, giving Carolina a 33-30 victory over New England on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
“I feel like we’ve got to do a better job all the way around,” Brady said. “We left some opportunities out there and it came back to get us.”
Newton completed 22 of 29 passes for 316 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception, and took advantage of a New England defense that has struggled with miscommunications and breakdowns this season.
The Panthers recorded five plays of 20-plus yards, and rolled up 444 yards of total offense. In every game this season, the Patriots’ defense has given up more than 400 yards.
“Yeah, well, look, we made some mistakes,” coach Bill Belichick said. “They made some plays. We’ve just got to do a better job. We’ve got to do a better job of coaching, a better job of playing. We need to do better in all three phases for 60 minutes. It’s just too inconsistent.”
Brady finished 32 of 45 passing for 307 yards — the 79th time in his career he has surpassed that mark in a game — and had two touchdowns and a 104.6 rating. But he averaged just 6.8 yards per attempt, well below his average of 9.9 yards entering Sunday.
Now, the Patriots face a short turnaround before going to Tampa to face the Buccaneers on Thursday night.
“We’ve just got to get the plan in, and figure out who’s out there, and walk through it, and get on the plane Wednesday,” Brady said. “It’s a quick turnaround. I wish we would have won today, it would have made the week better.”
Watch: Ben Volin and Joe Sullivan break down the Patriots’ loss
4th quarter: Panthers 33, Patriots 30
The Panthers got the ball back with 3 minutes, 9 seconds left, and milked the clock to the end, putting together a 10-play 46-yard drive that was capped off by a Graham Gano 48-yard field goal for the win.
4th quarter: Panthers 30, Patriots 30
It took three tries from the 1-yard line to get in the end zone, but New England tied the game after being down 14 points early in the fourth.
The Patriots scored on a 1-yard pass from Tom Brady to Danny Amendola. They drove 49 yards in 10 plays and converted on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line to pull even with the Panthers.
4th quarter: Panthers 30, Patriots 23
Tom Brady keyed a 9-play, 75-yard drive to pull New England within one score.
Dion Lewis used an 8-yard rush to get into the end zone.
The drive included a conversion on fourth and 3, with Brady finding Rob Gronkowski for 13 yards. One play later, Brady hit Phillip Dorsett for a 17-yard gain, Dorsett’s first catch and target of the game.
A note on the Patriots’ pass defense
The Patriots have allowed the opposing QB to throw for 300+ pass yards in all 4 games this season.— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) October 1, 2017
They had 3 such games all of last season
4th quarter: Panthers 30, Patriots 16
Cam Newton ran 7 yards up the middle, lowering his shoulder at the end of the run to get into the end zone.
It capped off a 6-play, 64-yard drive by Carolina.
For the day, Newton has accounted for 344 total yards, four touchdowns, and an interception.
Roberts injuries his ankle
Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts is questionable to return with an ankle injury.
3rd quarter: Panthers 23, Patriots 16
Cam Newton connected with Devin Funchess for the second time in the end zone today, extending Carolina’s lead to 7 points.
Newton hit Funchess on a 16-yard strike to cap off an 11-play, 68-yard drive that took more than 6 minutes off the clock.
But Graham Gano missed the point after wide left.
Defensive end Trey Flowers forced a fumble by Jonathan Stewart inside the New England 10-yard line and it was recovered by linebacker Elandon Roberts.
Although Flowers has two career fumble recoveries, this was his first forced fumble. It was Roberts’s first career fumble recovery. (He forced one fumble last year.)
The Patriots took over at their own 7-yard line, but the drive ended seven plays later when Tom Brady was sacked on third and 4 at the New England 37. Brady has been sacked twice today, and hit three times.
Rowe exits the game
Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe went down on the first play of the second half. He walked off the field slowly with two trainers after starting the second half over Stephon Gilmore. He was ruled questionable to return with a groin injury.
Rowe missed last week’s game with a groin injury.
Total yards: NE 208, CAR 227
Possession: NE 17:36, CAR 12:24
First downs: NE 12, CAR 12
Total plays: NE 37, CAR 25
Yards per play: NE 5.6, CAR 9.1
Tom Brady: 17 of 24, 170 yards, one touchdown, 104.5 rating.
Cam Newton: 11 of 13, 189 yards, two touchdowns, an interception, 126.3 rating.
NE receivers: Rob Gronkowski 2 catches, 3 targets, 60 yards; Danny Amendola 2 catches, 2 targets, 22 yards; James White 6 catches, 7 targets, 24 yards; Chris Hogan 3 catches, 6 targets, 36 yards; Brandin Cooks 1 catch, 2 targets, 5 yards.
CAR receivers: Ed Dickson 2 catches, 2 targets, 38 yards; Kelvin Benjamin 2 catches, 2 targets, 54 yards, Devin Funchess 4 catches, 5 targets, 46 yards, TD; Christian McCaffrey 2 catches, 2 targets, 23 yards.
First half defensive breakdowns
Defensive breakdowns by the Patriots have allowed the Panthers to complete three passes of 20 or more yards in the first half: A 25-yarder to tight end Ed Dickson, a 28-yard screen pass to Fozzy Whittaker, and a 43-yarder to a wide open Kelvin Benjamin.
At some point we have to question Matt Patricia and why he's calling some of these complicated schemes. Pats need to simplify— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 1, 2017
2nd quarter: Panthers 17, Patriots 16
Stephen Gostkowski made a 58-yard field goal, a career-long, to pull New England withtin 1 point just before halftime.
2nd quarter: Panthers 17, Patriots 13
Cam Newton threw his second touchdown pass of the game for the Panthers to take the lead. This one went 10 yards to Devin Funchess, his first of the season.
It came two plays after a 43-yard completion to Kelvin Benjamin, who was wide open.
Yet another defensive breakdown. No defender within 15 yards of Benjamin. Unbelievable— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 1, 2017
2nd quarter: Patriots 13, Panthers 10
A 12-play, 57-yard drive by New England ended with a 35-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski.
On the drive, Tom Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski on a 43-yard pass, which helped Gronkowski reach 6,393 career receiving yards, passing Troy Brown for third-most in club history. It also moved Gronkowski past Wes Welker for the most receiving yards from Brady.
2nd quarter: Patriots 10, Panthers 10
Carolina tied the score on a 28-yard screen pass from Cam Newton to Fozzy Whittaker.
It was the Panthers’ second touchdown in 11 quarters of football, Newton’s third touchdown pass of the season, and Whittaker’s first catch of the year.
On the drive, which went six plays and 75 yards, Carolina coach Ron Rivera successfully challenged the officials’ ruling that Devin Funchess did not get two feet down on a 9-yard completion.
2nd quarter: Patriots 10, Panthers 3
New England used an 11-play, 74 yard drive to take the lead.
Tom Brady fired a pass to Chris Hogan in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. It was the fourth time the two have connected for a score. It was Brady’s ninth touchdown pass of the year, and he has yet to throw an interception.
The drive included what seemed to be a questionable offensive pass interference penalty on tight end Rob Gronkowski that wiped out a 10-yard gain. The next play, safety Mike Adams was flagged for defensive pass interference, which set up New England on the Carolina 19-yard line.
Wow, that was a questionable OPI call against Gronk. Refs gotta let that go— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 1, 2017
Right on cue, the make up call— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 1, 2017
The Butler, on the field, with the interception
Malcolm Butler picked off Cam Newton on third and 3, and the Patriots took over at their own 26-yard line.
Newton chucked it to Damiere Byrd in double coverage, allowing Butler to make the easy interception.
It was Butler’s first of the season, and the seventh of his career.
Newton now has five interceptions on his record for the season to just two touchdown passes.
1st quarter: Patriots 3, Panthers 3
The Panthers opening drive went similarly to the Patriots’ first possession.
Carolina drove 61 yards in eight plays, but sputtered out at New England’s 14-yard line. Graham Gano made a 32-yard field goal to even the score.
Cam Newton completed 3 of 4 pass attempts for 52 yards on the drive.
1st quarter: Patriots 3, Panthers 0
The Patriots quickly marched down the field on their opening drive, but stalled at the Carolina 23-yard line. Stephen Gostkowski made a 41-yard field goal to get New England on the board first.
Tom Brady went 5 of 7 for 52 yards on the drive, including two completions for 15-plus yards.
The coin toss
The Patriots lost the coin toss, and will receive the opening kickoff.
Making an entrance
Watch the Patriots run onto the field:
Pregame flight, pregame yell
Quarterbacks Cam Newton and Tom Brady during pregame warmups:
For the Patriots, tackle LaAdrian Waddle, special team ace Matthew Slater, running back Rex Burkhead, offensive lineman Cole Croston, linebacker David Harris, linebacker Harvey Langi, and safety/special teamer Brandon King.
That means linebacker Dont’a Hightower, cornerback Eric Rowe, and offensive lineman Marcus Cannon are all active after missing last week’s game.
King was ruled inactive following his pregame workout Sunday. Harris, the veteran linebacker, is a healthy scratch. This is the second straight game Burkhead will miss.
For the Panthers, receiver Curtis Samuel, defensive end Daeshon Hall, cornerback Daryl Worley, center Ryan Kalil, offensive tackle John Theus, quarterback Brad Kaaya, and defensive end Bryan Cox.
That means receiver Kelvin Benjamin and linebacker Thomas Davis are officially active.
The Patriots and the national anthem
Several minutes before the anthem, the Patriots are already standing on the line, at attention pic.twitter.com/EnLlmBvrFd— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 1, 2017
Patriots stood with 1 hand over heart, 1 arm around a teammate. Everyone on Panthers stood. Big cheers from the crowd pic.twitter.com/3kG2EWJo6U— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 1, 2017
FOXBOROUGH – Eighteen Patriots players took a knee last Sunday during the national anthem, a demonstration that took some of their teammates by surprise.
But the Patriots have decided to stand unified during the anthem in today’s game against the Panthers, according to a report this morning from ESPN.
The Patriots decided on Monday that they will stand during the anthem with one hand over their heart and their other arm around the shoulder of their teammate, per the report.
Players noted this week that last week’s demonstration wasn’t coordinated or communicated to everyone on the team.
“This week we have a more organized plan that will show more unity,” safety Duron Harmon said on WEEI.
On Tuesday, Patriots players Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater were among a group of players to meet with Robert Kraft and several owners to discuss the demonstrations and the impact they are having on the league.
Receiver Danny Amendola also said last week that the Patriots planned to stand together, but he admitted that plans could always change.
“My understanding [is] I think we’re all going to stand, but, you know, it’s not Sunday yet,” he said.
— Ben Volin, Globe Staff
Here are more photos from pregame during the national anthem:
Welcome to gameday
Cam Newton comes to Gillette Stadium for the first time Sunday, trying to notch his second career win against the Patriots. He and the Carolina Panthers beat New England, 24-20, in 2013.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady and New England’s top-ranked offense will go against Carolina’s top-ranked defense as both teams try to improve to 3-1.
We’ll have updates here throughout the day. Our format for updates is different than just a stream of tweets as we continue with a new approach that we think will better tell the overall story of gameday.
For some pregame reading, here is a look at Cam Newton and other Panthers storylines entering Sunday’s game. And here is Jim McBride’s thorough scouting report, which includes players to watch and keys to victory for both teams.
Kickoff: Sunday, 1 p.m.
TV, radio: Fox, WBZ-FM (98.5)
A few notes on the Patriots
■ The Patriots’ offense is off to a great start, leading the league in total yards and second in scoring (33 points per game). But there are troubling signs that the Patriots are too reliant on Tom Brady.
Last year, one of the keys to the Patriots’ success was having good run-pass balance. They ran the ball 45.6 percent of the time overall, and 52.4 percent of the time on first and 10. The passing game was the engine of the offense, but the running game kept defenses honest and preserved Brady throughout the long season.
But this year, the Patriots are only running the ball 41.7 percent of the time, and only 44.7 percent on first down. Their 3.5 yards per carry ranks 23rd in the NFL, and they are consistently getting stuffed on third and short. They have converted only 1 of 5 runs on third and 1 or fourth and 1.
Brady also has been hit 19 times through three games, including 10 sacks. Those numbers appear to be directly correlated to Brady having his best deep-passing season so far. According to Pro Football Focus, Brady leads the NFL on deep passes (20 or more yards downfield) with 11 completions in 22 attempts for 368 yards and four touchdowns. Long passes mean Brady is holding the ball longer, which means more hits for the 40-year-old.
As the season progresses, the Patriots need to better establish the run and find a way to reinvent their short-passing game without Julian Edelman.
■ Brady is already one of just three quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for 1,000 yards, 10 touchdowns, and no interceptions over his team’s first four games (Peyton Manning, Don Meredith, and in 2015, Brady). Now Brady can be the first quarterback to accomplish it twice, if he throws two TD passes and no interceptions Sunday against the Panthers (he already has 1,092 passing yards this season).
Alex Smith (774 yards, 7 TDs, 0 INTs) and Drew Brees (867 yards, 6 TDs, 0 INTs) have a chance of joining the club on Sunday.
— Ben Volin, Globe Staff