- 1996 Carolina Panthers season
team = Carolina Panthers
year = 1996
record = 12-4
division_place = 1st
stadium = Ericsson Stadium
playoffs = Won Divisional Playoffs 26-17 vs.
Lost Conference Championship 30-13 vs.
Green Bay PackersThe 1996 Carolina Panthers season was the second season for the team in the National Football League. They tried to improve upon their 7-9 record in 1995, and make it to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
The Panthers would be a huge surprise, as it would turn out, as the Panthers went 12-4, won the NFC West, and had a first round bye in the 1996-97 NFL Playoffs. The Panthers would then beat the Dallas Cowboys 26-17 before falling 30-13 to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers.
1996 Unrestricted Free Agents Signed QB
Steve Beuerlein JacksonvilleLB Duane Bickett SeattleCB Eric Davis San FranciscoLB Kevin Greene PittsburghT Greg Skrepenak OaklandTE Wesley Walls New Orleans
Unrestricted Free Agents Lost RB
Derrick Moore DetroitDE Shawn Price(Restricted Free Agent) BuffaloQB Frank Reich New York JetsCB Rod Smith Minnesota
NFC Divisional Playoff
January 5, 1997
Carolina Panthers 26, Dallas Cowboys 17
Ericsson Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina"
*Game time: 4:00 p.m. EST
*Game weather: convert|71|°F|°C, clear
*TV announcers (FOX):
Pat Summeralland John Madden
*Game attendance: 72,808
The second-year Panthers held Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman to 165 passing yards and forced three interceptions en route to their first playoff win in team history. On offense, running back
Anthony Johnsonwas their top performer with 104 rushing yards and a 9-yard reception. Dallas scored first on kicker Chris Boniol's 22-yard field goal, but wide receiver Michael Irvin was knocked out of the game with a separated shoulder. Carolina quarterback Kerry Collinsthen threw two touchdown passes, a 1-yarder to tight end Wesley Wallsand a 10-yarder to wide receiver Willie Green. The Cowboys countered with a 73-yard drive to score on Aikman's 2-yard touchdown pass to running back Daryl Johnston, but they failed on the extra point attempt and the Panthers lead was only cut to 14-9. A bad snap on a Carolina punt attempt went out of the end zone to give the Cowboys a safety. But Panthers safety Chad Cota intercepted a pass and returned it 49 yards to set up kicker John Kasay's 24-yard field goal with three seconds in the half, giving Carolina a 17-11 halftime lead. The second half was a battle of field goals with Kasey kicking 3 over Boniol's 2.
**DAL - field goal Boniol 22 DAL 3-0
**CAR - Walls 1 pass from Collins (Kasay kick) CAR 7-3
**CAR - Green 10 pass from Collins (Kasay kick) CAR 14-3
**DAL - Johnston 2 pass from Aikman (pass failed) CAR 14-9
**DAL - Safety, Carolina bad snap went out of end zone CAR 14-11
**CAR - field goal Kasay 24 CAR 17-11
**DAL - field goal Boniol 21 CAR 17-14
**CAR - field goal Kasay 40 CAR 20-14
**CAR - field goal Kasay 40 CAR 23-14
**DAL - field goal Boniol 21 CAR 23-17
**CAR - field goal Kasay 32 CAR 26-17
NFC Championship Game
January 12, 1997
NFC: Green Bay Packers 30, Carolina Panthers 13
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin"
*Game time: 12:30 p.m. EST/11:30 a.m. CST
*Game weather: convert|8|°F|°C, clear
*TV announcers (FOX):
Pat Summeralland John Madden
*Game attendance: 60,216
The Packers recorded 201 rushing yards and 476 total yards of offense. Green Bay running back
Dorsey Levensrecorded 117 yards receiving and 88 yards rushing, including a 29-yard touchdown catch. Quarterback Brett Favremanaged to overcome two early turnovers that set up 10 Carolina points, completing 19 out of 29 passes for 292 yards and 2 touchdowns. Packers running back Edgar Bennett, who recorded 99 rushing yards, scored a touchdown from 4 yards out, and kicker Chris Jackeadded 3 field goals.
Early in the first quarter, Panthers cornerback
Sam Millsintercepted a pass from Favre and returned it to the Packers 3-yard line, setting up Kerry Collins' 3-yard touchdown pass to fullback Howard Griffith. Green Bay struck back with Favre's 29-yard touchdown pass to Levens, but after forcing a punt, Carolina lineman Lamar Lathonrecovered a fumble from Favre on the Packers 45-yard line. A few plays later, John Kasay's 22-yard field goal put the Panthers back in the lead, 10-7.
But after that, the Packers dominated the rest of the game. Favre responded by leading Green Bay 71 yards in 15 plays and scoring with a 6-yard touchdown pass to
Antonio Freeman. Then on the first play after the ensuing kickoff, safety Tyrone Williams intercepted a pass from Collins on the Packers 38-yard line. Favre's completions to Andre Risonand Freeman for gains of 23 and 25 yards moved the ball into field goal range, and Jacke's 31-yard field goal finished the drive, giving Green Bay a 17-10 halftime lead.
On the first drive of the second half, Green Bay moved the ball 73 yards in 11 plays and scored with another Jacke field goal. The Panthers managed to respond with an 11-play, 73-yard drive of their own and score with Kasay's second field goal, which cut their deficit to 7 points. But Green Bay stormed right back with a 74-yard touchdown drive, featuring a 66-yard reception by Levens. On the next play, Bennett's 4-yard touchdown run gave the Packers a 27-13 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Jacke's third field goal put the game out of reach.
**CAR - Griffith 3 pass from Collins (Kasay kick) CAR 7-0
**GB - Levens 29 pass from Favre (Jacke kick) Tie 7-7
**CAR - field goal Kasay 22 CAR 10-7
**GB - Freeman 6 pass from Favre (Jacke kick) GB 14-10
**GB - field goal Jacke 31 GB 17-10
**GB - field goal Jacke 32 GB 20-10
**CAR - field goal Kasay 23 GB 20-13
**GB - Bennett 4 run (Jacke kick) GB 27-13
**GB - field goal Jacke 28 GB 30-13
Awards and Records
NFC Coach of the Year-Dom Capers
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