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WR silences naysayers with big day

Updated: January 11, 2004, 12:21 AM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Steve Smith was one of the least popular of Carolina Panthers before Saturday. Not anymore.

Smith caught a third-and-14 pass on the first play of the second overtime, then outran St. Louis' Jason Sehorn to the end zone to give the Panthers a 29-23 victory over the Rams and a spot in their first NFC championship game since 1996.

"I just beat the safety and Jake threw one of those pretty balls that he does in the last minute, like he always does," Smith said.

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