Saints Conclude Regular Season Schedule With Win Over Panthers
The New Orleans Saints wrapped up their 2020 regular season with a road win over an NFC South Division rival on Sunday.
New Orleans, playing without all of the running backs that were available to them in a 52-33 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas Day due to COVID-19 issues and protocol, defeated the Carolina Panthers, 33-7, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The win gave the Saints a season sweep over the Panthers, who they defeated, 27-24, back in October.
The victory also secured New Orleans the number two-seed in the upcoming NFC Playoffs.
The Saints, who intercepted five passes of Carolina quarterbacks on Sunday will host the Chicago Bears in the opening round of the NFC Playoffs.
New Orleans got on the scoreboard first, at the 9:09 mark of the first quarter when Drew Brees connected with Jared Cook on an 18-yard touchdown pass, capping off an 8-play, 42-yard drive, which gave them a quick 7-0 lead.
Carolina scored its first points of the game at the 1:43 mark of the opening quarter when Rodney Smith wrapped up a 7-play, 64-yard scoring drive with a 1-yard plunge, which tied the game, 7-7.
The Saints regained the lead at the 8:16 mark of the second quarter when Brees tossed his second touchdown pass of the game, this one an 8-yard scoring strike to Emmanuel Sanders, completing a 5-play, 54-yard drive.
After a missed PAT, New Orleans led, 13-7.
New Orleans scored the final points of the first half with only :05 remaining in the second quarter when Wil Lutz kicked through a 33-yard field goal, extended it lead to 16-7, an advantage they would take with them into the halftime break.
The Saints scored the first points of the second half at the 11:52 mark of the third quarter when Lutz was successful on his second field goal of the afternoon, this one from 48 yards away, capping off an 8-play, 46-yard drive, which made it 19-7.
New Orleans put the game out of reach at the 4:56 mark of the third quarter when Taysom Hill wrapped up a 3-play, 24-yard drive with a 3-ard touchdown run, which gave them a commanding 26-7 advantage.
The Saints added a final touchdown at the 14:55 mark of the fourth quarter when Brees threw his third touchdown of the game, this one to Austin Carr on an 11-yard scoring strike, ending an 8-play, 57-yard drive, making the score 33-7.
That proved to be the final points of the game, as the Saints cruised to the 33-7 triumph.
New Orleans ended up outgaining Carolina, in terms of total yards, 347-320, including a 156-74 advantage in rushing yards, while the Panthers finished with a 246-191 edge in passing yards.
Brees led the way for the Saints, completing 22-of-32 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns, while Ty Montgomery, who was the emergency running back for the Saints in the absence of both Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray, carried 18 times for 105 yards.
In a losing cause for the Panthers, Teddy Bridgewater completed 13-of-23 passes for 176 yards and was intercepted twice.
With the victory, the Saints ended their 2020 regular season scheduled with a record of 12-4, while the Panthers finished their year at 5-11.