For the first time in 2007, the Carolina Panthers sent their fans home happy. The Panthers, behind 44-year-old Vinny Testaverde won for the first time at home in 2007, topping the San Francisco 49’ers 31-14. Vinny became the oldest starting QB to win a game in the league. The Panthers D finally stepped up as well, a week after allowing three straight second half TD’s in a home loss to the Saints, the defense today recorded six sacks, and Richard Marshall came up with a big 67-yard pick for a score.
The Panthers built a 17-0 halftime lead with a John Kasay first quarter field goal, then Vinny hit Dante Rosario with a five-yard TD pass with 10:03 left in the first half. Marshall then picked off 49’ers QB Trent Dilfer and took it back to the house with 6:32 left in the half to start the runaway win. San Fran in the first half punted three times, fumbled once, and were the victim of two Dilfer picks.
The 49’ers did make things interesting in the second half, putting up 14 points to draw within 3 at 17-14. Dilfer threw for two scores, hitting Arnaz Battle with a 20-yard TD with 11:19 left in the quarter, then Dilfer found Delanie Walker with a 21-yard score with 8:29 remaning in the quarter to draw within three. The Panthers came back with a big turnover, as Michael Lewis fumbled a punt, and Rosario recovered at the 9’ers 11.
DeShaun Foster then wrapped up the drive, going the final 11 yards on four carries for the score to drive the lead back up to 10 at 24-14. San Fran went 3-and-out on their next drive, and the Panthers iced the game with a long drive that went from their own 17 all the way to the end zone after Testaverde hit Jeff King for the one-yard score to make it 31-14 with 10:26 left in the contest.
The bittersweet win for the Panthers puts them at 5-7, breaking a five game losing streak. They also broke their seven-game home losing streak, including being 0-5 this year at Bank of America Stadium. Next week the Panthers travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jags. The 49’ers were unable to build on their win last week against the Cardinals, and now sit at 3-9. Next week they will be at home for the first of three straight at home as they play Minnesota.