Panthers' most memorable '13 plays: No. 10

While most of the Carolina Panthers are vacationing and before we get fully engaged into the upcoming season, let's take one last look at 2013.

Over the next 10 weekdays we'll look at what I consider the most memorable plays of Carolina's 12-4 season that included an eight-game winning streak and NFC South championship.

You may argue the order or significance of the plays. You may argue other plays were more memorable. If so, don't hesitate to share your thoughts.

With that, let's get to the countdown that will conclude on July 11 with my most memorable play:

No. 10

  • The play: (Oct. 20) Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn intercepts a Sam Bradford pass on the game's first offensive play and returns it 45 yards for a touchdown.

  • The final score: Panthers 30, Rams 15

  • Why it made the list: Several reasons. First, it set the tone for Carolina to win consecutive games and reach at least .500 six games into a season for the first time since 2008. That was significant for a team that started each of the previous three seasons with a 1-5 record. Second, it was a boost for a secondary that after a Week 2 loss to Buffalo was decimated with injuries and solidified as the weakest link to what ultimately would be the league's No. 2 defense. And it wasn't just a big play by Munnerlyn. Safety Quintin Mikell set up the interception when he hit Bradford's arm just as the Rams' quarterback released the pass, making it an easy target for Munnerlyn. “You go out there, you try to set the tone early as a defense when you get the opportunity to take it first and at least force a three-and-out. If you can come up with a touchdown, it’s a huge momentum shift,” linebacker Thomas Davis said. For a team desperately in need of momentum, this was huge all the way around.