The New Orleans Saints defeated the Carolina Panthers 31-13 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. The Saints improved to 10-3 (7-0 home), and the Panthers fell to 9-4 (4-3 away).
Drew Brees surpassed 50,000 passing yards for his career in a stellar performance at home. Brees took apart one of the better defenses in the league by completing 30 of 42 passes for 313 yards, four touchdowns, and a 124.4 passer rating. The Saints contained Panthers QB Cam Newton, who did not throw for a touchdown until the fourth quarter. Newton completed 22 of 34 passes for 160 yards, one touchdown, and a passer rating of 85.4.
The first quarter was all Carolina, but the Saints limited the damage by forcing the Panthers to kick two field goals. The Saints’ defense did its job in the first, and laid the foundation for the offense to start rolling.
New Orleans dominated the second quarter with three touchdown passes by Drew Brees. The first touchdown came at 13:40 off a six-yard TD pass to WR Marques Colston. The TD and extra point gave the Saints a 7-6, and New Orleans would never look back. Colston caught his second TD pass at 2:49 in the second after an 11 play, 86-yard drive. Carolina was forced to punt on their next possession, and Brees marched down the field once again on a seven play, 76 yard TD drive. This time, TE Jimmy Graham caught the five-yard TD pass. The Saints would head into halftime with a commanding 21-6 lead.
The Carolina offense was shutout for most of the second half, but the Carolina defense played much better. The defense allowed a Garret Hartley 19-yard field goal in the third quarter, and a Jimmy Graham TD reception in the fourth. The Panther offense had plenty of chances to bite into the Saints’ lead, but only managed a single TD at 5:15 to go in the game.
Carolina will look to regain its defensive superiority in its next contest, and Cam Newton will surely think of better ways to jumpstart the offense.
Drew Brees and the Saints will look to keep playing good ball in order to better position themselves for the playoffs.
Next game: New Orleans plays at St. Louis (5-8) on Sunday at 4:25 pm ET on Fox. Carolina plays the New York Jets (6-7) on Sunday at 4:05 pm ET on CBS.
Link to box score.