Saints Defend Home Turf and Sweep Carolina on the Season
The New Orleans Saints came into this match-up today with the Carolina Panthers a half a game ahead of them for the top spot in the NFC South. Both teams 8-3 but the Saints got the victory in Carolina Week 3, this game would be big for both teams.
This game would begin as a shootout, both teams throwing punches and scoring on their opening possessions. The Saints would engineer an 11 play drive that took just under five minutes and culminated in an Alvin Kamara fourth and goal pitch and score.
The Panthers had an equally as impressive drive, spanning 10 plays and just over five minutes when Jonathon Stewart plunged into the end-zone for the score.
From there the defenses would step up for both squads on a couple of drives.
The Saints would be the first team to break through and boy would they in a BIG way with a 72 yard Mark Ingram run and he would finish it off himself with a touchdown. 14-7 Saints at that point in the second quarter.
On the ensuing Carolina possession the Panthers would be forced to punt and punter Michael Palardy would fumble the snap and the Saints would take over with great field position.
Would the Saints be able to take advantage?
You bet they would, they proceeded to march down the field and Brees would find Michael Thomas for a 10 yard score. 21-7 New Orleans.
You felt the momentum swinging big time in the Saints favor and after the defense forced a three and out you were really feeling good.
Unfortunately, on the third play of the next drive tight end Josh Hill would catch and then fumble the football, recovered by the Panthers. That would be exactly what the Panthers needed to stay in this game.
Now, would they be able to take advantage of the Hill blunder?
The Panthers would and it wouldn't take them long to capitalize. Four plays and a 21 yard receiving touchdown for running back Christian McCaffrey. 21-14.
Just like that Carolina was right back in the ball game.
That's how the half would end.
Beginning of the second half would be a punt for the Panthers and then the Saints came back with a huge score to extend their lead. Again it would be the amazing Alvin Kamara breaking a 20 yard run for the score. 28-14 Saints.
New Orleans would have one final opportunity to get on the board before the fourth quarter began but was unable to do so with a missed field goal by Wil Lutz. That left the door open ever so slightly for Carolina with it being a two score lead to begin the fourth quarter.
The Panthers would push the ball down the field and face a 4th and six from the Saints 12 yard line, Cam Newton found Devin Funchess but he was taken down a yard short by Ken Crowley. Turnover on downs for the Panthers.
However, the Saints wouldn't be able to execute at all when they had the football and were forced to punt, normally that's not a good thing. On this punt though, things would go the way of the Saints as special teams play-maker Chris Banjo stripped Kaelin Clay and the Saints would recover.
The turnover would lead to a New Orleans field goal but even more importantly they were able to take another three minutes off the clock. 31-14.
From there the Panthers would get a score via a touchdown pass to Devin Funchess to make it a 10 point game but were unable to recover an on-sides kick and the Saints salted away the rest of the game clock.
Next up for New Orleans they'll be on a short week facing another NFC South opponent in the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football.