BRONCOS 20

PANTHERS 17 -- Rumblin', bumblin', stumblin', Julius Peppers looked up and saw nothing but 104 yards of Mile High air between himself and the end zone. He only made it 101.

That pretty much defined the day for the Carolina Panthers, who came up just short Sunday, falling to the Denver Broncos, 20-17.

Reuben Droughns ran for 193 yards for Denver (4-1) and Jake Plummer made up for his fourth-and-goal interception to Peppers by throwing the game-winner, a 39-yard touchdown pass to Ashley Lelie.

Lelie's touchdown, caught over his shoulder in the corner of the end zone, was upheld after Carolina asked for a review. It was one of the few things that went according to script on an otherwise odd day as the defending NFC champion Panthers lost their second straight game.

Three plays after Peppers's "scamper," Jake Delhomme ran for a three-yard touchdown to put Carolina ahead 17-13. After a change of possessions, Plummer drove the Broncos 87 yards for the go-ahead score. Plummer, who is right-handed, threw two touchdowns -- one with his right hand and one with his left. The left-handed touchdown -- Plummer's second left-handed throw of the season -- went to Droughns, a fullback-turned-tailback who started in place of injured Quentin Griffin and may have found a permanent spot in the starting lineup.

"I think of myself as someone who can put the bad things behind me," Plummer said. "It was an emotional roller coaster. To go down there and throw that pick was bad, stupid."