Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Brees, Saints advance by shutting down Panthers late

Brees, Saints advance by shutting down Panthers late

Drew Brees and his receiving corps came through when Carolina stifled New Orleans' prolific backfield, and a relentless Jordan spearheaded a late defensive stand to seal a 31-26 an NFC wild-card round victory on Sunday.

This Sunday the Carolina Panthers square off against the New Orleans Saints in a rare NFC South playoff match up.

4 seed Saints win will advance it to play at No. 2 seed Minnesota (13-3) next Sunday at 3:40 p.m. on FOX as No. 6 seed Atlanta (11-6) eliminated No. 3 seed Los Angeles Saturday night, 26-13, and will play at No. 1 seed Philadelphia (13-3) at 3:35 p.m. Saturday on NBC. The Saints rebounded with a 31-21 win at home over - surprise! - the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers lacks the passing game to take advantage of such flaws, but the Vikings and Falcons certainly do.

"I thought the quarterback was out of the pocket".

NBC Charlotte was first to report that NASCAR CEO Brian France is part of a group of investors led by Charlotte Hornets minority owner, Felix Sabates, who are interested in buying the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers made three field goals - and missed one. A conversion would have put the Panthers away but a stop would give Cam Newton one final chance to complete the comeback. That pulled the Panthers to within 24-19. The play lost 10 yards, and Newton went to the sideline, replaced by backup Derek Anderson. The Saints have benefitted from rookie running back Alvin Kamara, 22, and veteran Mark Ingram, 28, as the New Orleans running game is averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Brees threw a fourth-down interception on a gamble by the Saints.

With less than a minute to play in the fourth quarter of the game between the Saints and Panthers, Cam Newton dropped back to pass on 2nd and 10. Panthers Coach Ron Rivera expressed displeasure afterward with the intentional grounding call. "I mean, I don't know", he said. "It would be nice to have the explanation". While the draft order among non-playoff teams is determined by record and strength of schedule, for playoff teams, it is determined by how deep they venture during the postseason.

Ginn, a former Panthers receiver, celebrated the sweep of his former team by holding up a broom in the locker room.

It was a day that belonged to the Saints, who never trailed.

The Saints (12-5) did lose starting guard Andrus Peat in the first half with a broken fibula. But they gave a spirited, cohesive effort.

As Payton discussed the most striking aspects of the Saints' evolution this season, he began by highlighting "the amount of guys we've had to replace and the new faces that are stepping up". "Clearly we knew coming in that they were going to be a tough out". "Completely different situation now". The Panthers are pretty well equipped to deal with this threat since they finished the regular season as the 3 best run defense, 18 best pass defense, and 7 best defense overall. Fans cheered loudly when Steve Scalise, the Republican congressman from Louisiana who was wounded in last spring's shooting at a Washington-area baseball field, was shown with his son on the stadium's video boards. The Saints are not typically considered a strong defensive team, but that side of the ball has been very consistent this season. "It pushed them 20, 25 yards. back". Brees will turn 39 on January 15.

The high powered Saints run game was limited to 41 yards on the day which is a bit of a concern. Brees was asked to throw less often.

New Orleans will now deploy its multifaceted attack against Minnesota's vaunted D. Carolina, meanwhile, ends the season with a sense of what could have been. But he still was very good, setting a single-season National Football League record for completion percentage. Michael Thomas caught eight passes for 131 yards, including a 46-yard grab to set up Kamara's scoring run that put New Orleans ahead 31-19 with 5:08 remaining. Ginn breaking free for an 80-yard touchdown broke the Saints out of a brief case of the offensive doldrums - they had punted quickly on their first two possessions - and turned the game on its axis.

Like this: