CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Tom Brady overcame two early interceptions to lead his first touchdown drive of the preseason as the New England Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers 17-16 on Friday night.

The preseason has been a titanic struggle for Brady, who is awaiting word on his appeal of a four-game suspension for his role in ''Deflategate.''

After managing just three first downs in his first 11 preseason possessions, Brady finally got on track, leading an 80-yard scoring drive before halftime running the hurry-up offense. He capped the drive with a well-placed 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Scott Chandler.

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The Patriots played again without tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receivers Brandon LaFell and Julian Edelman.

Carolina managed just two field goals in the first half behind Cam Newton and trailed 7-6 at halftime. Corey Brown bobbled away an easy TD pass from Newton - one of four Carolina drops in the first half.

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