Panthers Top Patriots After Controversial No-Call Ends Game

A back-and-forth game ends on a controversial note as the Patriots comeback drives comes up short

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Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots and Luke Kuechly #59 of the Carolina Panthers fight for the ball in the end zone on the last play of the game at Bank of America Stadium on Nov. 18, 2013 in Charlotte, N.C.

In a marquee Monday night matchup, the Carolina Panthers hung on to beat the New England Patriots 24-20 in a game that ended with a controversial no-call on the final play.

After a tight back-and-forth contest, where the lead changed hands several times, New England Patrios quarterback Tom Brady marched his offense down the field, and with 3 seconds left, had one more shot at the end zone. Brady fired the ball to tight end Rob Gronkowski, but the Panther’s Rober Lester intercepted the pass.

The referees initially threw a flag on the play because Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly had Gronkowski in a bear hug. CBS Sports tweeted a shot of the final throw:

The Patriots thought they would have one more un-timed down, but the referees said there was no penalty, claiming Gronkowski was not in a position to compete for the ball. The controversial ending snagged the focus from a dramatic fourth quarter touchdown drive engineered by Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. The win pulls the 7-3 Panthers within one game of the New Orleans Saints at the top of the NFC South division.