NEW ORLEANS — Drew Brees handed for 376 yards and two touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints held off Carolina’s late comeback bid to seal a 31-26 victory of their NFC wild-card sport on Sunday.
The Panthers had a primary down on the Saints 26-yard line with 58 seconds left, however heavy stress by All-Professional defensive finish Cameron Jordan a pair performs later induced an intentional grounding penalty on Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, making it third-and-25 on the Saints 34 and a required 10-second runoff left 22 seconds on the clock.
After an incompletion ultimately zone on third down, Vonn Bell sacked Newton on a security blitz, guaranteeing the Saints (12-5) swept all three conferences with Carolina (11-6) this season, along with profitable their first playoff sport in 4 seasons.
Brees’ touchdowns went for 80-yards to Ted Ginn and 9 yards to tight finish Josh Hill. Fullback Zach line and operating again Alvin Kamara every ran for brief touchdowns, the latter arrange by Michael Thomas 46-yard reception.
Thomas caught eight passes for 131 yards on a day when the Saints wanted the passing sport to compensate for a floor sport that struggled to get going.
Helped by the presence of tight finish Greg Olsen — who didn’t play within the groups’ earlier two conferences — Newton marched Carolina into Saints territory as a rule. However the Panthers stalled 4 occasions from contained in the New Orleans 25, settling for 4 subject purpose makes an attempt on these drives, one among which kicker Graham Gano surprisingly missed.
Olsen had eight catches for 107 yards and a landing. Newton completed 24 of 40 passing for 349 yards and two touchdowns, the opposite a 56-yard scoring strike to Christian McCaffrey that pulled the Panthers inside a landing with four:09 left.
However Newton was additionally sacked 4 occasions, as soon as every by Bell, Jordan, Jonathan Freeney, and David Onyemata. The sack by Onyemata got here as Newton tried to spin away from Tyeler Davison and slammed his head into Onymata’s chest. Newton was checked for a concussion, however missed just one play earlier than returning to the sport.
Nonetheless, the Panthers had been in putting distance for the win after a failed gamble by Saints coach Sean Payton, who elected to maintain the offense on the sphere on fourth-and-short with two minutes remaining. He hoped to expire the clock on Carolina, which was out of timeouts. It backfired when Brees’ cross as he scrambled to his proper was intercepted by Adams, giving Carolina the ball at its 31 with 1:51 to go.
Panthers: Newton missed one play — a failed third-and-long — whereas being evaluated for a concussion after Onyemata’s sack. Cornerback Daryl Worley briefly was positioned within the concussion protocol but in addition cleared to return in the course of the sport.
Saints: Beginning left guard Andrus Peat was carted off the sphere with a left shin harm. His alternative, Senio Kelemete, later wanted assist off the sphere for an undisclosed harm.
Panthers: Start their offseason.
Saints: Transfer on to play at Minnesota within the NFC Divisional playoffs.