49ERS 27Nobody is safe from the Carolina Panthers' voracious injury bug, not even kicker John Kasay.
But thanks to punter Todd Sauerbrun and a defense that ate up the San Francisco 49ers' offense in the second half, Carolina finally doubled its win total.
Muhsin Muhammad caught three touchdown passes from Jake Delhomme in the second half, and Sauerbrun made four extra points and the go-ahead 34-yard field goal in a 37-27 victory over the hapless 49ers on Sunday.
With 11 players on injured reserve and twice that many hurting on the active roster, the beleaguered NFC champions weren't exactly shocked when Kasay limped to the bench with a strained calf in the third quarter.
But the rest of the Panthers (2-7) were willing to do anything to end a six-game losing streak -- and after Carolina's next touchdown, Sauerbrun volunteered.
"They thought about going for two, and I said, 'Come on, man, you know that I can kick extra points. Give me a break,' " said Sauerbrun, who hadn't kicked in a real game since college.
The Panthers needed every contribution they could get.
Delhomme was 19 of 34 for 303 yards -- 123 on six passes to Muhammad -- as the Panthers scored 34 points after halftime despite a rushing attack decimated by injuries.
"The injury bug has not only flown over Carolina, but he has made it his home this season," Muhammad said. "We've had to overcome a lot. We're putting together a team, and we just have to come up with ways to win."
The Panthers scored 17 points in the final 7 minutes 12 seconds after Brandon Lloyd's 30-yard touchdown catch gave San Francisco a 27-20 lead early in the fourth quarter.