And yet it will be remembered for a controversial non-call on the game's final play.
The Carolina Panthers outlasted the New England Patriots 24-20 Monday night after the officials picked up a penalty flag on a throw in the end zone from Brady to Rob Gronkowski. Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, with his back to the ball, appeared to clearly hold Gronkowski while the ball was in the air. A flag was thrown, but the officials deemed that it was not a penalty after a quick conference.
"There is no foul on the play," was the official explanation given during the game.
Brady came storming after the officials looking for an answer, using an expletive that was caught by the television microphones. Don't be surprised if Brady is fined. Deeming the ball uncatchable was a questionable decision at best. Brady calmed down by the time he met the press and noted he made a poor throw.
"There was no explanation given to me," a terse Patriots coach Bill Belichick said after the game. "The officials ran off the field. I didn't see anything. ... I've gone through that before. Last time I tried to ask an official a question about a call, that was the wrong thing to do. So I have no idea."
If pass interference was called, the Patriots would have received one final do-or-die play to win the game from the 1-yard line. There's no guarantee they would have won the game.
The controversial ending takes nothing away from a sterling performance by Newton, who authored two gorgeous touchdown drives in the second half. It was the kind of prime-time effort by Newton that we've all been waiting for.
The Panthers are 7-3 and deserve to be mentioned as one of the best teams in the NFL. Carolina was the first team in 37 games to not turn the ball over against New England. The Patriots, not the Panthers, made crucial errors twice inside the 10-yard line. The Panthers earned the win.
Still, we can't help but think about another Monday Night classic that ended with the focus on the officials after a blown call. Just like the Fail Mary, this is a game we'll remember for a long, long time.