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Saints Drop Finale to Panthers, 23-10

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The Saints' magical regular season ended today with their third straight loss as the Panthers beat our boys in Carolina, 23-10. The Saints' record is 13-3 to finish the season and it's the best record in franchise history.

Saints vs Panthers coverage

Saints vs Panthers boxscore

As the Saints held out many of their star players almost entirely, the Panthers got off to a quick 7-0 start with Jonathan Stewart going 67 yards from scrimmage on the second play of the game. The Saints seemingly tied the game with an Anthony Hargrove sack, strip, and recovery, but a Carolina challenge ruled Matt Moore down by contact prior to the fumble to wipe the scoreboard clean of a Saints' touchdown. With an anemic effort offensively by the Saints, Carolina cruised to a 17-3 halftime lead, in part thanks to a Courtney Roby fumble just before halftime that left the Saints' primary kick returner shaken up. The Saints would yield two field goals in the second half behind an impressive defensive effort and score their lone touchdown on a 1 yard scoring run from Lynell Hamilton. If the lone goal was to get out of the game without injury, the Saints were grossly unsuccessful. The coverage unit specifically took a huge blow, as Malcolm Jenkins, Courtney Roby and Chris Reis all left the game with unspecified injuries. Necessary role player Robert Meachem also got his bell rung on a close-line tackle by Captain Munnerlyn, but he was able to return back into action later in the game. It was a largely painful game to watch and Mark Brunell's performance was entirely forgettable. On to the playoffs...