CHARLOTTE - It was a trip down (good) memory lane for the Carolina Panthers as they get set to take on the New England Patriots Sunday afternoon.
Four years ago, Ron Rivera, Cam Newton and the Panthers got a signature win over the Patriots on Monday Night Football. But not before a controversial game-ending play.
"I might have got away with one there," linebacker Luke Kuechly told reporters Wednesday. "I'm not even going to act like I didn't."
Protecting a 24-20 lead with 3 seconds remaining at home, Kuechly was initially flagged as he smothered tight end Rob Gronkowski in the end zone as the ball was intercepted.
But the officiating crew picked up the flag, saying the ball, a bit underthrown, was uncatchable.
Running off the field as the losing quarterback, Tom Brady had some not so nice things to say to the referee.
"I don't think I said very nice things to him," Brady said Wednesday. "That was a little unfortunate. That would have been a fun next play, I'll tell you that."
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera had a hint of a smirk on his face when asked about the play.
"Luke was just playing defense," he said.
Told the opposing coach, Bill Belichick, might not feel the same, Rivera simply replied: "History."
The Panthers (2-1) play the Patriots (2-1) in Foxboro on Sunday at 1 p.m.