When leading an NFL game, the best thing a team can do is milk the clock – especially when the cushion is by more than seven points. The Carolina Panthers did their best to possess the ball for as long as possible while holding a 17-3 lead Sunday against Kansas City, and they did so with a 20-play, 10-minute drive.
Only, the drive ended with a punt, which is incredibly rare for a march of that duration.
The Panthers held the ball for 10:08, going 51 yards on 20 plays. They reached the Chiefs’ 28-yard line, but Newton was sacked for a 12-yard loss on third down, forcing Carolina to punt.
According to Pro-Football Reference, it’s the first time since at least 1998 that a team had a 20-play drive end in a punt. In fact, only four drives since 1998 went 20-plus plays and resulted in no points (two blocked field goals, two turnovers on downs).
Orchestrating a 20-play, 10-minute drive is great with the lead, but coming away with at least three points is a must. The Chiefs marched down the field and scored a field goal on the ensuing drive, only to make it 17-14 later in the game thanks to pick-six by Eric Berry.