In the biggest game of the season the New Orleans Saints came up short against the Carolina Panthers 17-13 in a game that wasn't very aesthetically pleasing. Rain pounded as both defenses dominated for the most part. But it was the struggling Saints offense that was unable to generate enough production to assist in the outcome.
You had the feeling that the first team that produced a second-half touchdown would win. Despite the Saints being that team, it was a late-game answer that put the game out of reach for the Saints.
A subpar outing from Saints quarterback Drew Brees (30-of-44, 281 yards, one TD and two interceptions), that was spearheaded by poor offensive-line play was the primary factor in this defeat. Although the stat sheet will show the Saints ran the ball 30 times for 126 yards, the run game was poorly managed even as it seemed to be unstoppable early—as the Saints used it sporadically.
When the Saints tried to go back to it late, it just wasn't strong enough anymore to milk the clock. The Saints now no longer control their own destiny and must hope for Carolina to lose in Atlanta to the Falcons next week.
This costly loss by the Saints drops their record to 10-5 as they are now on a two-game losing streak. The Saints will now close out the season at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and must hope for things to fall their way.
Here are my takeaways.