Saints vs. Panthers Final Score 17-13: Cam Newton Leads Game-Winning Drive

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

A defensive collapse in the waning seconds costs the Saints a chance to win the NFC South crown and lockup a playoff berth in their disappointing last-second loss 17-13 to the Carolina Panthers Sunday.

With a three point lead and under a minute remaining, the Saints defense needed to make just one final stop of Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, something they had done quite successfully for the 59 minutes prior. But for some reason, they completely collapsed instead and gave up the game-winning touchdown. It was a replay of their loss to the Patriots earlier this season.

The Turning Point

Obviously it was the Panthers final game-winning touchdown drive, capped off by a 14-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Domenik Hixon.

The Good

There's really not much positive to discuss but it was nice to see the Saints find success in the running game.

The Bad

The offensive line for the Saints is sketchy at best and it's a huge freakin' problem. Not only because Brees can't be taking 6 freakin' sacks a game like he did today but because this offense lives and dies by the play of their front five. The running game, the passing game, it all starts with the offensive line. And as this offense goes, so goes the fate of the Saints. Will the Saints beat the Bucs next week? Depends how the offensive line plays. Will the Saints do well in the playoffs? Depends how the offensive line plays. Will the Saints win the Super Bowl? Depends how the offensive line plays.

Also, when was the last time special teams had a punt/kick return of any substance whatsoever?

Saints Offensive MVP

Mark Ingram had one of his best performances of the season, rushing 13 times for 83 yards. He should have been given more touches.

Saints Defensive MVP

Nobody really stood out much for the Saints in this game, evidenced by the fact that no one had more than 5 tackles. Their success was truly a team effort.

Saints Who Starred

Marques Colston - was the only one making plays in the first half. 

Jimmy Graham - he was quiet for most of the game but came up big on the Saints scoring drive in the 4th quarter with a 46-yard huge catch-and-run followed by the TD catch.

Shayne Graham - made all of his kicks in his debut with the Saints.

Saints Who Struggled

Terron Armstead - Played terrible in the first half but slightly redeemed himself in the second.

Drew Brees - threw two costly interceptions.

Darren Sproles - was non-existent.

Crazy Stat of the Game

The Saints defense blanked Carolina's offense on third down, who went 0-9. And somehow the Saints still lost.

Tweet of the Game

Gif of the Game

Breesfraidycat_medium

Injury Update

Kenny Vaccaro injured his lower left leg and needed to be carted off the field in an air cast. It didn't look good. FOX reported he may have a broken ankle.

What's Next

The Saints play their final game of the 2013 season next week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Superdome. They either need a win or an Arizona Cardinals loss to clinch a playoff spot.

Final Stats

NO CAR
First Downs 20 10
Total Yards 365 222
Passing Yards 239 141
Rushing Yards 126 81
Penalties (Yds) 4(40) 3(26)
Turnovers 2 1
Punts (AVG) 7(43) 8(47)
Time of Pos. 38:48 21:12

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
D. Brees 30/44 281 1 2
Rushing CAR YDS TD LG
M. Ingram 13 83 0 34
K. Robinson 6 18 0 7
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
J. Graham 5 73 1 46
M. Colston 5 63 0 35
P. Thomas 5 7 0 13
CAROLINA PANTHERS
Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
C. Newton 13/22 181 1 1
Rushing CAR YDS TD LG
D. Williams 12 67 1 43T
T. Ginn 1 7 0 7
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
G. Olsen 4 35 0 14
T. Ginn 2 66 0 37
D. Hixon 2 18 1 14T

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