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Victorious Panthers have no complaints

Carolina doesn't much care that win comes vs. fellow 2001 weakling Detroit.

©Associated Press
September 16, 2002

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Panthers don't care how bad the Lions might be. Carolina will take as many wins as it can get.

The battle of the two worst teams in the league last season was a one-sided rout Sunday, with the Panthers looking like a good team in a 31-7 victory.

"People will have a tendency to say, 'That's just the Detroit Lions, who cares if you beat them,' " Carolina receiver Muhsin Muhammad said. "But what if you lose to a team like that? It doesn't matter who you beat or how you beat them, all wins are important."

Rodney Peete had 310 yards and a touchdown passing, Lamar Smith ran for two scores, Mike Minter returned an interception 40 yards for a score and Julius Peppers lived up to his billing with three sacks and a forced fumble.

The victory doubled the Panthers' win total from a year ago when Carolina lost 15 straight to end the season.

"People try to slight who you play and how you play, but winning breeds confidence and we're a lot more confident now than we were two weeks ago," new coach John Fox said. "And it can't really get any better than 2-0."

The Lions dropped their 10th straight road game, dating to last season, and showed signs of being as bad as they were in 2001 when they went 2-14 and didn't win until Week 13.

Peete moved the ball around by throwing to eight different receivers, and wasn't afraid to go long or throw into double coverage. His 58-yard pass to Smith set up one score.

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