Saints Kick Their Way To A Win To Outlast Carolina
The New Orleans Saints escaped a game that they led most of the way at home against the Carolina Panthers 34-31. Carolina's Joey Slye missed a 28-yard field goal and then Drew Brees and the Saints offense engineered an 11 play drive which culminated in a 33-yard field goal for Wil Lutz to win it.
New Orleans hadn't been good this season scoring in the first quarter but they were able to remedy that in this game as they scored touchdowns on two of their first three possessions.
In addition, the offense got some contributions from guys who haven't shown up all that often this season. Tre'Quan Smith caught his first touchdown pass of the season but had just the one catch for 13 yards. Jared Cook finally had a consistent day as he hauled in six catches for 99 yards and a touchdown himself.
Latavius Murray was the game's leading rusher carrying the ball seven times for 64 yards and a touchdown and Michael Thomas led the way receiving by catching another 10 balls for 101 yards and a score himself.
Where things got a little dicey for the Saints was with penalties committed. New Orleans should have won this game going away but they committed 12 fouls for a grand total of 123 yards. That is certainly something they'll need to clean up moving forward.
There was a big play late in the fourth quarter where pass interference wasn't called on New Orleans but Panthers head coach Ron Rivera challenged the non-call and after review pass interference was called... After the game, Sean Payton was asked about the non-call reversal and he said, "The change that took place in the offseason, sitting in on every one of those meetings, I don't know that it's exactly what we discussed where we are today with it. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's not. But, we've gotta be able to adjust to it."
Christian McCaffrey was also a problem in this one as he went for 123 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns. Wide Receiver DJ Moore also caused difficulties for the Saints secondary as he hauled in six catches for 126 yards and two scores as well. Quarterback Kyle Allen reversed his struggles of late throwing for 256 yards with three touchdowns and no picks.
With the win, the Saints improve to 9-2 and all but wrap up the NFC South. They'll travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons on Thanksgiving coming up later this week.