In the time-honored tradition of throwback Instagram photos and tweets, we’d like to take this time to join in on the fun of Throwback Thursday.
Today, we go back to the John Fox era and the 2003 season, specifically, a thrilling divisional round playoff game at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
Up 23-12 with 2:39 remaining in the 4th quarter, the Carolina Panthers seemed well poised to advance to the NFC Championship Game. But where’s the fun in that? The Panthers allowed a late Marshall Faulk touchdown, a 2-point conversion, an onside kick recovery and a 33-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins to tie the game at 23 and force overtime, with all the momentum seemingly in favor of the hometown St. Louis Rams.
That St. Louis momentum didn’t stop there. After receiving the opening OT kickoff, Carolina moved the ball down to the Rams 22-yard line and lined up for a 39-yard field goal attempt. John Kasay split the uprights but it was called back due to delay of game and subsequently shanked the ensuing 44-yarder.
Despite what seemed like an epic Panther collapse, it wasn’t long before the pendulum began to swing back toward the Panthers. Jeff Wilkins was short on a 53-yard attempt for the Rams and both defenses battled it out for the remainder of the period. Before long, the game was headed to double OT.
While his future with the team might be up in the air, Steve Smith’s past is etched in stone. What came next in the second overtime of a thrilling night in January was just one of many memorable moments for Smitty in Panther blue. On the first snap of the sixth quarter of the game, Jake Delhomme found Smith for a 69-yard game-winning touchdown, at the time, the longest overtime touchdown in history. The Panthers would go on to beat the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game before falling to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII.