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Panthers' Ted Ginn has no excuse for the drop, but Packers are his focus now

Ted Ginn couldn't haul what would have been the game-winning pass against the Colts, but it ended up not costing his team. AP Photo/Bob Leverone

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. has watched the replay of his dropped pass in Monday night’s overtime win against Indianapolis. He has heard the jokes and comments.

He has moved on.

“My kids took me off the hook," Ginn said. “As long as you have family it will push you through anything."

But Ginn knows he would have been the goat in the 29-26 victory that improved Carolina to 7-0 had it not for Graham Gano's 52-yard field goal.

He knows he let the game-winning touchdown go through his hands after breaking at least five yards clear of the nearest defender near the 10-yard line on Carolina’s third play of overtime.

He admits it hurt to watch, but as a professional wanting to improve he had no other choice.

“You’ve got to go back and see what you did wrong," said Ginn, who admitted he began running for the end zone before securing the ball. “There’s no excuse for it. You’ve just got to go out and make up for it."

Ginn did that. He caught a 12-yard pass over the middle to the Indianapolis 25 two plays after the drop. It was a much tougher catch, with the ball thrown slightly behind him in traffic.

That set up Gano’s 42-yard field goal that tied the score and kept the Panthers in position to win it.

“For Ted to drop a go-ahead, game-winning touchdown, is it a big deal? Yes," quarterback Cam Newton said. “What’s more important is how he responded to that. Anything in that time of the game was important because it was overtime. We were down by three points and we needed an answer.

“It was just a credit of the resiliency he has and the trust we have in each other."

Drops are nothing new for Ginn. He was wide open when he dropped a 35-yard pass near the goal line in the opener at Jacksonville.

Since coming into the league in 2007 he has dropped seven percent of his targets. That’s the third-highest percentage in the NFL during that span with only Brandon Pettigrew (7.9 percent) and Frank Gore (7.4 percent) higher, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

But one of the reasons Ginn has eight touchdowns in 23 career games for the Panthers as opposed to six in 104 games between Miami, San Francisco and Arizona is the Panthers accept his mistakes with the understanding there also are rewards.

“We want guys that are so locked in on what they’re supposed to do that they forget about everything else other than just doing their job," offensive coordinator Mike Shula said. “Which is easy to say, harder to do, to his credit."

At 30, Ginn still has the elite speed to create separation, an issue the Green Bay Packers are dealing with heading into Sunday’s game at Bank of America Stadium.

He could have plenty of opportunities against the Packers, whose defense has allowed 500 or more yards of total offense the past two games.

Ginn is locked in on that, not the drop.

“When you play football it’s not going to always go right," Ginn said. "Of course you want to hit your big plays. Of course you want to hit your wide-open looks and things like that. But when that don’t happen it’s all about what you’ve got inside of you.

"We’re all men. We just go out and continue to be men, continue to fight. That’s all you can ask for, is to fight."