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Saints Back on Track, Pound Panthers 34-3

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Can't be too disappointed with this one. The Saints took a giant step toward the goal of becoming a more consistent football team today when they handily defeated a banged up Carolina Panthers team 34 to 3, sweeping the season series between the division rivals for the first time since 2001. It was one of quite a few firsts for the team this season.

This is great news because so far this year the Saints have made a habit of playing down to the level of teams with less talent (see: Panthers, Cardinals, Browns). That wasn't the case today - unlike their first meeting which the Panthers nearly won - as the Saints controlled the entire game the way we'd all hope and expect.

The defense played great as usual, finishing the game with four sacks, a forced fumble and a Jabari Greer interception returned for a touchdown, their first score of the season. They held Carolina's offense to just 195 total yards thanks mostly to their ability to shut down the Panthers on third down, allowing them to convert only 1/12. Ouch.

Drew Brees looked a little off his game early on but he worked out the kinks eventually, throwing touchdown passes to tight ends Jeremy Shockey and Jimmy Graham, his first of his career. The offense was able to get in a groove, rushing for 165 yards by committee - with the help of Julius Jones, Chris Ivory and Ladell Betts - and dominating time of possession, 34:41 to Carolina's 25:19.

Probably the best news of all is the fact that the Saints have a bye next week because this game took a toll on the team from an injury standpoint. Darren Sharper (tweaked hamstring), Jeremy Shockey (bruised ribs), Malcolm Jenkins (shoulder stinger), Chris Ivory (separated/strained shoulder) and Stanley Arnoux all left the game with injury and will need to be evaluated. Not looking good but the time off should do wonders for this bruised and battered Saints team.

More analysis tomorrow, of course, and our post-game show coming up at 4:30pm Central. Click here to listen!

Use this thread for all of your post-game celebration talk. Make the jump for stats from the game and our open thread roll-call.

Team Stats

Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
D. Brees 27/43 253 2 1
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
J. Jones 6 68 0 54
C. Ivory 12 50 0 11
L. Betts 13 31 1 12
C. Daniel 1 16 0 16
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
L. Moore 6 77 0 36
M. Colston 8 65 0 16
J. Graham 3 49 1 19T
D. Thomas 4 45 0 22
R. Meachem 2 15 0 13
J. Shockey 1 7 1 7T
L. Betts 1 1 0 1
J. Jones 2 -6 0 2
Fumbles FUM LOST REC YDS
D. Brees 1 0 1 0
A. Brown 0 0 1 0
J. Vilma 0 0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
G. Hartley 2/2 36 4/4 10
Punting NO AVG I20 LG
T. Morstead 5 38.8 3 63
Kickoff Returns NO AVG TD LG
C. Roby 1 21 0 21
Punt Returns NO AVG TD LG
L. Moore 3 5 0 11
Defense T-A SCK INT FF
R. Harper 9-0 1.0 0 0
J. Vilma 5-2 0.0 0 1
D. Clark 4-1 0.0 0 0
T. Porter 4-0 0.0 0 0
S. Shanle 4-1 0.0 0 0
J. Greer 3-1 0.0 1 0
A. Brown 2-2 0.0 0 0
S. Ellis 2-0 1.0 0 0
L. Torrence 2-0 1.0 0 0
R. Ayodele 1-0 0.0 0 0
J. Charleston 1-0 1.0 0 0
M. Giordano 1-0 0.0 0 0
T. Hargrove 1-0 0.0 0 0
M. Jenkins 1-1 0.0 0 0
D. Sharper 1-0 0.0 0 0
J. Wilkerson 1-1 0.0 0 0
U. Young 1-0 0.0 0 0

Saints Panthers

Total First Downs 27 Total First Downs 15
By Rushing 9 By Rushing 6
By Passing 14 By Passing 4
By Penalty By Penalty
Third Down Efficiency 7/14 - 50% Third Down Efficiency 1/12 - 8%
Fourth Down Efficiency 0/1 - 0% Fourth Down Efficiency 1/2 - 50%
Total Net Yards 408 Total Net Yards 195
Total Rushing/Passing Plays (includes Sacks) 76 Total Rushing/Passing Plays (includes Sacks) 64
Average Gain per Offensive Play 5.4 Average Gain per Offensive Play 3.0
Net Yards Rushing 165 Net Yards Rushing 127
Total Rushing Plays 32 Total Rushing Plays 24
Average Gain per Rushing Play 5.2 Average Gain per Rushing Play 5.3
Tackled for a Loss (Number-Yards) 2--3 Tackled for a Loss (Number-Yards) 0-0
Net Yards Passing 243 Net Yards Passing 68
Times Sacked (Number-Yards) 1 - 10 Times Sacked (Number-Yards) 4 - 39
Gross Yards Passing 253 Gross Yards Passing 107

Here is the roll call from our open game threads earlier today. Thanks to all who participated.

Total Users: 37

Total Posts: 1140

Total Threads: 2
Name # of Posts
SaintShark 107
rustdog74 93
BRSaintsFan 86
iiAndyiiii 77
Just Some Guy 72
saintslam 68
AKAY47 63
SaintBevo 57
stujo4 53
metryman 53
Jay Preece 48
GodSillY 46
ungarsfragile 40
Dave Cariello 36
HansDat 34
mattxlegend 32
SaintsFan-KS 31
Dang Hu Dat 24
SaintsFanMD 21
mississippisaintsfan 19
Monkey Poop Battle 11
FrenchFreak 10
were gonna need a bigger boat 9
saints-fan-in-miss 7
natde1016 7
nanvinnie 7
alcoholic_insight 7
HB-NOLA 6
BigTMill 4
born in areacode 318 3
Joseph William Stern 2
LA_No1_SaintFan 2
cck781 1
jon08ban 1
theprogrammerman 1
clearlyvague 1
bandy 1