Moss made just one catch in the Patriots' win, but he fumbled later on that same play. And once the superstar wide receiver got down on himself, the Panthers knew they had done their job.
"We knew he was going to shut it down," Panthers cornerback Chris
Gamble told The Boston Globe. "That's what we wanted to do him. That's
what we did. … He'd just give up a lot. … Slow down, he's not going
deep, not trying to run a route. You can tell, his body language. … Once you
get into him in the beginning of the game, he shuts it down a little
The Panthers claim that their plan was to send a safety to help cover Moss early in the game in order to frustrate him to the point where he wouldn't want to work to get open anymore. Apparently, their plan worked.
"You get physical with him,"
Panthers safety Chris Harris told the Globe, "and I don't want to say he quits, but he
kind of doesn't run the routes the way they're supposed to be run. If you get a jam on him, he'll just ease up.
He had the one catch, and he fumbled. … We stayed on top of him. We
were not gonna let him catch a deep pass. That's his game. If he can't
get it going, he gets out of sync."
Tom Brady could sense the frustration in Moss as well, but the Patriots quarterback didn't make any excuses for his wideout's less-than-stellar performance on Sunday.
"Yeah, I mean, it’s frustrating as a player when you’re — you know, he was frustrated in himself and the situation and it’s just something you’ve got to fight through," Brady said following the game. "He keeps fighting through it and you have those days where it’s not all great, but you keep lining up and you keep going up. You’ve just got to keep fighting."