Last Second Field Goal Gives Panthers Victory, Protects Marino's Record

Bryan HollisterAnalyst IDecember 28, 2008

With six seconds on the clock, John Kasey did what he does best: he split the uprights from 42 yards, and the Carolina Panthers eeked out a victory over the high-flying New Orleans Saints to earn the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

Drew Brees did his level best to etch his name in the record books, going 30-of-49 for 386 yards and four touchdowns. But it wasn't enough, neither to win the game nor break the record: he came up 13 yards short of breaking Dan Marino's season record for passing yards.

Anyone want to bet that Marino is a Panthers fan right about now?

The Saints sold out on the run early; out of 60 plays, they ran the ball a total of 11 times for 50 yards. Even knowing this was likely, Carolina struggled to stop Brees, who hit four receivers for receptions of 20 yards or more.

The Saints' problem was that they couldn't stop the run all day; DeAngelo Williams reeled off 178 yards against a porous Saints defense, pounding the ball for 11 yards at the end of the game to put the Panthers in scoring position.

With no timeouts and 60 yards to go, Brees had one shot at the end zone. Had he completed the last-ditch effort, the Saints would have won and Brees would have had the record. But Carolina held, and now get to take a week off to prepare for their Super Bowl run.

With the win, Carolina kept the Falcons in the No. 5 seed and captured the NFC South title. They also reach 12 wins for only the second time in franchise history and record only their fifth season with a winning record.