Like every epic game, the layers to the Carolina Panthers' 24-20 victory over the New England Patriots are stacked thick.

The entertaining match between Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith and Pats cornerback Aqib Talib provided fireworks from the get-go.

Talib started the tit-for-tat bout by wildly celebrating the first pass breakup of the game against Smith. The two then tussled a drive later, after Talib hung onto the receiver's leg well past the whistle.

Smith ended with four catches for 62 yards, including a 42-yard bomb early in the game. Talib ended up leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an aggravation of his hip injury.

When asked about the matchup by NFL Media's Albert Breer after the Panthers won, No. 89 took his final jab at Talib.

"I don't know, you go ask him, 'cause he didn't finish the game," Smith said. "Ice up, son, ice up."