Saints End Regular Season With A 45-17 Victory Over Panthers-Game Recap
The New Orleans Saints wrapped-up their 2011 regular season schedule by downing the Carolina Panthers, 45-17, on Sunday, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, in New Orleans.
The win was the eighth-straight for the Saints, who cemented the first-ever undefeated home season in franchise history, and also matched a franchise record with 13 wins during the regular season.
The Saints led it after the first quarter, 14-7, but the Panthers who able to tie the game, 17-17, at the 1:25 mark of the second quarter, after a 29-yard touchdown run by running back Jonathan Stewart.
New Orleans came right back to score however, going on a six-play, 81-yard drive, that was capped-off on a 42-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Drew Brees to receiver Marques Colston, giving the Saints a 24-17 advantage at the half.
Brees threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone, with those two touchdown tosses extending his string of consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass to 43, drawing him within four of Johnny Unitas' all-time record.
Brees threw two more touchdown passes in the third quarter, a 19-yarder to Jimmy Graham, and a 1-yard throw to Jed Collins, giving the Saints a 38-17 lead, and putting the game out of reach.
Bress threw his fifth and final touchdown pass, a 9-yarder, to Darren Sproles, in the fourth quarter, to make the score, 45-17.
The Saints were able to outgain the Panthers, in terms of total offense, 617-301.
Brees was fabulous on the day, completing 28 of 35 passes, for 389 yards, and five touchdowns. He now has 5,476 passing yards on the year, which extends his own single-season NFL record.
Chris Ivory led the Saints in rushing, with 127 yards, on 19 carries, while Graham topped the Saints in receptions, hauling in eight passes, for 97 yards, and a touchdowns.
Graham ended the regular season with 1,310 receiving yards, which for a few minutes was the most ever by a tight end, until surpassed later in the day by New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Running back/kick returner Darren Sproles had 168 all-purpose yards on the afternoon, giving him 2,696 on the year, which is a new NFL record.
In a losing cause for Carolina, quarterback Cam Newton completed 15 of 25 passes, for 158 yards, and a touchdown, as the rookie eclipsed the 4,000-yard passing mark in his freshman season.
With the win, the Saints end their regular season with a 13-3 record, while the Panthers dropped to 6-9.
The Saints will enter the NFC Playoffs as the number three seed, as the San Francisco 49ers secured the second spot by defeating the St. Louis Rams, 34-27.
Junior Galette #93 celebrates with Patrick Robinson #21 of the New Orleans Saints after catching an interception during the game against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The game box score is courtesy of ESPN.com.
1:00 PM ET, January 1, 2012
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
|TD||13:21||Chris Ivory 35 Yd Run (John Kasay Kick)||0||7|
|TD||06:42||Steve Smith 12 Yd Pass From Cam Newton (Olindo Mare Kick)||7||7|
|TD||02:50||Marques Colston 15 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (John Kasay Kick)||7||14|
|FG||05:50||Olindo Mare 41 Yd||10||14|
|FG||02:42||John Kasay 43 Yd||10||17|
|TD||01:18||Jonathan Stewart 29 Yd Run (Olindo Mare Kick)||17||17|
|TD||00:07||Marques Colston 42 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (John Kasay Kick)||17||24|
|TD||08:54||Jimmy Graham 19 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (John Kasay Kick)||17||31|
|TD||03:47||Jed Collins 1 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (John Kasay Kick)||17||38|
|TD||12:15||Darren Sproles 9 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (John Kasay Kick)||17||45|
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-2||4-6|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|New Orleans Receiving|
|New Orleans Defensive|