Five takeaways from Panthers' loss to Saints

Five takeaways from Panthers' loss to Saints

Carolina traveled 63 yards using 13 plays that got the team down to New Orleans' 7-yard line, but the Panthers were unable to cash in. New Orleans didn't look like a playoff-caliber team in the loss to open the season at Minnesota and started 0-2 before winning eight straight games. Safety Mike Adams didn't get to Brees on blitzes on two TD throws. "I know everybody says that, but we really do. I thought that maybe somebody had stuck a finger in my eye". "I'm not going to take the cowardly way and point somebody else out".

After one of the more putrid playoff quarterbacking performances ever in Jacksonville, Brees was positively brilliant in the Saints' 31-26 shootout win over the Panthers to complete the season trifecta over their division rivals. After the Panthers missed a field goal, Drew Brees fired an 80 yard touchdown strike to former Panther Ted Ginn Jr. and he connected with tight end Josh Hill on a 9-yard touchdown that gave New Orleans a 14-3 advantage.

Ginn finished the game with 115 yards and the touchdown on four receptions, and when he was not catching passes from Brees, it was another former Buckeyes receiver, Thomas, who was helping the offense move the ball down the field. "The ball was spread around quite a bit and guys were making plays when they had the chances".

"They were doing a lot of flood-the-zone things when we were in zone coverage", strong safety Vonn Bell said.

At this time, Newton has yet to take a trip to the locker room, however, and exited the injury tent, staying on the sideline.

Helped by the presence of tight end Greg Olsen - who did not play in the teams' previous two meetings - Newton marched Carolina into Saints territory more often than not.

The first half was full of frustration for the Panthers, in that they retained possession for long stretches without converting drives into anything more than field-goal tries.

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Jordan called the Saints' red-zone stops "huge".

"We lost. That's all I remember", Bell said. And that's precisely what Brees did, throwing for 376 yards and two touchdowns.

Yet, unlike in the regular season, the Panthers" "D' did a number on Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, who combined for just 68 yards from scrimmage, a little more than one-third of their regular-season average. The four sacks on Newton were bad, and Brees did plenty of damage, but nothing compared to Newton only having two targets to work with, neither of which was a wide receiver. The sack by Onyemata came as Newton tried to spin away from Tyeler Davison and slammed his head into Onyemata's chest.

Newton then struggled to get to his feet and collapsed to the turf while trying to jog to the sidelines.

"Disappointment", Carolina coach Ron Rivera said.

Did Jerry Richardson sell the Carolina Panthers during the National Football League playoffs? He only got one carry in the game, from the Panthers' goal line with 46 seconds remaining in the first half. They did suffer a loss to the offensive line that safeguards Brees when guard Andrus Peat was taken from the field on a cart, reportedly after suffering a fractured fibula.

The Panthers are back in the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, after missing the postseason last year.

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