Down Bad in the Bayou: Panthers Drop to 1-12 After 28-6 Loss to Saints

The Carolina Panthers headed down to New Orleans for an NFC South matchup that would have yielded nothing more than a morale booster. Being mathematically eliminated after last week’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Panthers needed at least a glimmer of hope or improvement to carry them through the rest of what has proven to be a disastrous season. Instead, they allowed 14 points in the span of a minute and a half as the Saints pulled away in the fourth quarter.

Neither quarterback, the rookie nor the vet, looked particularly good in the first half as they passed for a combined 70 yards. The argument all season long has been that Bryce Young doesn’t have the weapons or protection needed to be successful in Carolina. It was pretty hard to argue with that sentiment when watching all of the drops on Sunday afternoon. After a 9-yard touchdown run by Alvin Kamara put the Saints up 7-0 early, the Panthers settled for a 47 yard field goal from Eddy Pineiro on the next possession. The next time they were on offense, the drive stalled on their own 26-yard line, punter Johnny Hekker fumbled the snap and the ball was recovered by D’Marco Jackson on the scoop and score. It was initially thought that the punt was blocked. nevertheless, the Panthers were suddenly in the hole 14-3 with 4:37 to play in the first half. They had the opportunity to end the half on a positive note when Derrick Brown intercepted Derek Carr at the New Orleans 45. With a short field and an opportunity to put at least 3 points on the board, the Panthers failed to gain even one yard and ended the half with a turnover on downs.

Carolina drew within 8 points when Pineiro made a 47 yard field goal on the team’s first offensive possession. That would do it for the offense as their final possessions of the game ended in a missed field goal and three straight turnovers on downs. In several yard-to-go situations, the Panthers elected to go with pass plays despite a productive day on the ground to the tune of 204 rushing yards. The dam finally broke for the defense as the Saints punt up two touchdowns late to pull away. Prior to a drive where he completed passes of 44 and 12 yards to A.T. Perry and Jimmy Graham, respectively, Carr only had 37 net passing yards on the day. He capped the drive off with a 7 yard touchdown pass to Chris Olave. Carr’s next, and final, drive started deep in Carolina territory – their 24 yard line to be exact after the turnover on downs. Four short plays later, Graham caught a 4 yard touchdown pass for the game’s final points.

Young finished with 137 yards on 13-of-36 passing while being sacked four times. Carr finished 18-of-26 for 119 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. The Panthers had nearly 100 more net yards of offense than the Saints but still couldn’t find their way to a win. The 28-6 win keeps the Saints in the hunt for the NFC South division while the loss drops the Panthers into furter disarray as they search for their second win on the season.

Sheena Quick
Sports mom/accountant/life-long athlete and lover of all sports.