Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints: Final Score, Highlights and Analysis
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
The Carolina Panthers (7-9) defeated the New Orleans Saints (7-9) 44-38 in the season finale for both teams. This game was a shootout as both teams tested each other in what was a typical rivalry game between two teams who really don't like each other. Carolina capped off a successful December run by going 4-0 in the month and helping their coach finish strong.
As for the Saints, they started off a disappointing 0-4 on the year but recovered only to have a roller coaster ride that saw them in different winning and losing streaks.
The Saints allowed over 500 yards of total offense most of which belonged to DeAngelo Williams as he had the game of his life. He had 210 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. Helping him on the ground was Mike Tolbert with three scores of his own, propelling the Panthers to a season high in points scored.
Cam Newton didn't have his best game but he didn't have to with the running game being as strong as it was against New Orleans. He was hurt late in the game but was able to bounce back and did enough to keep his team in the game and close it out at the end. This marked the second time in his career where he threw an interception and the Panthers won the game. For Carolina, this is the start of a welcomed trend.
The Saints did their best to stay in the game and at one point were in control. However, they were unable to hold on to the lead as the momentum shift swung in favor of Carolina. It didn't help their cause any with Drew Brees not being as sharp as he normally is and his receivers dropping passes.
However, with the end of the season, suspended head coach Sean Payton will be allowed to return to the team and pending league approval of his contract will become the highest paid coach in the NFL next year.
Both teams have a lot of work to do and the Panthers will need to decide what to do with Ron Rivera. Here are a few quick hits that support him remaining in place for another season:
- Carolina improved it's record from last year and despite being below .500 was the mark many people predicted they would finish at.
- He is 7-3 in December over the past two years. If Carolina can figure out how to win early and in the middle of the season, that is the kind of record that will serve the team well in terms of playoff contention.
- The Panthers came together and played hard for him. There is no denying the Panthers were a different team down the stretch and the mistakes that plagued them in the beginning of the season were seldom repeated in the last eight weeks.
- Carolina won with a lot of backups and younger players.
- Many of the losses were by seven points or less. Had Carolina been able to close those games out and get the win, they could easily have 10-12 wins this year.
Either way, this was a great finish to an otherwise disappointing season which featured two rivals playing each other hard. It was everything many fans expected and more. Hopefully, the 2013 season brings just as good of a rivalry.
Darren Sproles is doing his part to keep the Saints in it on a long touchdown run. The game is close and the Panthers should try to milk as much time off the clock as possible. Of course the Saints are helping themselves out by allowing extra yardage to be added to an onside kick by virtue of a penalty.
Vintage Brees has the Saints still alive after converting on fourth down. There is still a long way to go and the Panthers defense will not make it easy for them. The Saints offense has been running a two minute drill and will probably be in that mode the rest of the way.
Colston's touchdown reception makes this a ten point game again ending a 28-0 run by the Panthers. There is a little over 5:00 left in the game so a lot can happen.
Charles Johnson got to Brees a second time today and he put some stank on it. The result brought a loss of eight yards and a punt.
Did not see this coming: Armanti Edwards with a big return of 69 yards and brought down by the Saints punter Moorehead. It seemed like he ran out of steam but in the end the Panthers received excellent field position.
DeAngelo Williams has blown this game open with his second score of the day. Maybe I should have mentioned something about starting him in fantasy leagues today. Who knew?
A couple things to touch on: Carolina scored on a Mike Tolbert touchdown (hard to believe he didn't get a Pro Bowl nod) and Cam Newton has broken Peyton Manning's record for most passing yards after two seasons when he reach 7,881 yards.
Considering what we have seen from Andrew Luck this year, that record could very well be broken next season. Seems to be a lot of that going around lately.
Anyway, Carolina leads again and will try to keep the Saints in check.
The Saints will take over at their 20 following a Carolina punt. This may need a much needed break for Newton as he looks to be in pain on the sideline. For right now, he should remain in the game. Hopefully, there will be some information about his injury.
Ok, so much for the break.
Carolina's Charles Godfrey picked off Brees to give the Panthers great field position.
When the Panthers are at 3rd and 17 with their backs against the end zone, what do you do? Throw the deep ball to Louis Murphy to get the first down and let DeAngelo Williams run 54 yards for the touchdown.
Williams is playing like a man possessed in this game. That is his second score on the day and he could look to reach 200 yards rushing before it's all said and done.
Good news for Saints fans, bad news for Panthers fans: the New Orleans offense has been revived. Brees to Graham for the score. Also, Brees has thrown for over 5,000 yards for the third straight season. He has joined Dan Marino and Tom Brady as quarterbacks to accomplish the feat, but everyone pretty much knows that. When he hangs it up, his spot in Canton should be secured.
Start of the 3rd Quarter
The Saints will receive the ball and hope to increase their lead, applying pressure to the Panthers to come from behind. On the other side, this is the kind of game where Cam Newton needs to show his maturity and not let the interception bother him. The second half should be a good one.
Williams reached 100 yards on the ground (107) for the first time this season. To get a better understanding of the significance of the number, consider the following:
- 2nd 100 yard game since 2009 (both against New Orleans)
- 26 games since last 100 yard game
- 1st running back to rush for a 100 yards this season
The Saints defense seems to be on to Carolina's offense. Jonathan Vilma read Cam Newton and intercepted the ball for a pick six. A similar play happened last year in which the Panthers lost to the Saints with the defensive touchdown being the difference.
Newton made a poor decision to throw that pass and to do it after a spin move looked like a rookie mistake. He cannot allow that play to linger with him otherwise this game will be in the Saints' favor.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?