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Saints 30 @ Panthers 27: Who Dat Say!?!



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New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers |
NFL Football Recap: Final statistics from the New Orleans vs. Carolina game. Includes play-by-play, drive charts, and photos.

NFL Game Center: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers |
Includes statistics, play-by-play, drive charts, highlights, and the official NFL game book.

Saints Earn Dramatic 30-27 Win Over Panthers |
Game recap.

New Orleans Saints rally for 30-27 win over Carolina Panthers |
James Varney - N.O. survives penalties, big plays by Panthers.

Saints Postgame Notes |
Staff Report.

New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers: Photo Gallery |


From the Saints Sideline

Recapping the New Orleans Saints' 30-27 victory over Carolina Panthers |
Mike Triplett - Tight end Jimmy Graham has third consecutive 100-yard game.

New Orleans Saints defense makes no apologies for lights-out play |
Jeff Duncan - 'We're going to go down swinging'

New Orleans Saints will go as far as defense takes them |
Peter Finney - If you missed Sunday's New Orleans Saints game, do not fret. You've seen it before. (HansDat note: Caution - Finney's profile picture looks like he took it himself with his camera-phone after too many Hurricanes @Pat O's)

Panthers rookie coach Rivera's mistakes open door for Saints' escape |
Brian Allee-Walsh - Not to diminish another classic comeback led by quarterback Drew Brees but the New Orleans Saints and Who Dat Nation owe Carolina Panthers’ rookie Coach Ron Rivera a heartfelt "Thanks!’’

Saints K Kasay helps new team get past former team |
Bradley Handwerger - John Kasay stayed away from the locker room throughout the week. On Sunday, after hitting three critical field goals in the Saints’ 30-27 win over Carolina, Kasay finally spoke about returning to play against the team he spent 16 years with.

Saints not surprised at Panthers TE Shockey’s antics |
Bradley Handwerger - As the clock wound down to triple zeroes on the scoreboard Sunday in New Orleans’ dramatic 30-27 win over Carolina, most players streamed onto the field, shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries with the afternoon’s opponent.

Saints’ Ellis: It’s like ‘we’re playing Pop Warner football’ |
Bradley Handwerger - Roman Harper watched from the opposite side of the field as Carolina receiver Steve Smith caught a pass over Saints cornerback Jabari Greer and then waltz towards the end zone.

The stats that stand out from the New Orleans Saints' 30-27 victory over Carolina Panthers |
Doug Tatum

New Orleans Saints game ball winners |
Doug Tatum - Pierre Thomas, Jimmy Graham, Drew Brees, John Kasay and Patrick Robinson made big plays.

Grading the New Orleans Saints' offense in win over Panthers |
James Varney

Grading the New Orleans Saints' defense in win over Panthers |

Grading the New Orleans Saints special teams in win over Panthers |

Grading the New Orleans Saints coaches in win over Panthers |

Wrap-up: Saints 30, Panthers 27 - NFC South Blog |
Thoughts on the New Orleans Saints' 30-27 victory against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.


Carolina In My Mind

Another big day ends in a familiar way for 1-4 Panthers |
Ron Green Jr. - Another near miss for the Carolina Panthers. After rallying from a 10-point second-half deficit, the Panthers surrendered a late touchdown to lose 30-27 to the New Orleans Saints today at Bank of America Stadium.

Key Moments: Saints at Panthers |
Joseph Person

Strickly Panthers: Emotion runs rampant |
Bryan Strickland

Panthers-Saints Postgame Notes |
David Monroe

Grades: Saints at Panthers |
Joe Person

Bests and worsts from Carolina Panthers' 30-27 loss to New Orleans Saints |
Scott Fowler

Inside the Panthers: Panthers feel a familiar frustration |
Ron Green Jr.


Post-Game Quotes

Sean Payton

Re: Game

Obviously it was a hard fought win. I was proud of the way our guys fought. You get into a game like that in the division, momentum swings in the second half, we were battling a lot. There were some calls that went against us and we just worked our way through it and came up with the stops we needed defensively and the plays when we needed them offensively. It was an important win for us and obviously an exciting win.

Re: Patience on the final drive

We got in a rhythm. We struggled with the one drive when we were three and out, I think it was the one three and out we had all day with a couple of runs early on. Drew made some really good plays for us, we converted a third down or two...I thought we adapted well up front and did a good job of protecting the quarterback and kind of minimized some of their pressures. Drew was outstanding. I thought we had good balance today. We had some success running the football. We just found a way to win this game, and that's pretty important. You learn a lot about your team in that type of environment. The one call switches the momentum of the game, third down and long, they call roughing the passer and all of a sudden they are at midfield. That's when the momentum shifted. Carolina scored on that series and we were three and out. They ended up getting the ball back and going ahead, but we fought through it.

Re: Defending Cam Newton

He's got good arm strength, he can run and he can do all those things. He's a real talent to see the progress he's making.

Re: Cam Newton keeping plays alive

I thought defensively we came up with some big plays ourselves. The first interception led to seven points. That's huge. Needless to say it's a big win for us.

Re: If he got an explanation from the referees about why no flag was thrown before the field goal

No. This crew does a really good job. Maybe later in the week, we try not to belabor it. We just keep going. That kind of becomes contagious. Then all of a sudden you are just bitching every call, upset about the first unnecessary roughness call, that's third down and all of a sudden it's first and ten and I was upset with the call. I was really upset with it. So, you just have to keep playing.

Re: If they explained the roughing the passer call

It's that contact to the passer.

Re: The chippy-ness of the game

I thought our guys did a good job of composure. We hung in and we weren't going to let that become an issue. We were going to be smart and understand that what's most important is winning. It was a good gut check for us. It was a good game to win. That momentum shifts like it does, it's pretty common in our league when it does shift, and we were still able fight back despite it. It was a good stop there at the end defensively and I think that last drive offensively was significant.

Re: If Jimmy Graham is becoming a go-to-guy

Yeah, absolutely. If you are watching the game, absolutely. It's happening right now. He's doing well.

Re: If this is the healthiest the team has been five games into the season

I don't know. We're missing a few starters. Our center has been injured, our right tackle has been injured, but I think that is pretty normal in the course of the regular season. Hopefully we get those guys back soon than later.

Re: Impressions of Cam Newton

He's exciting and very talented. He's got the poise and you don't feel like he's rattled. He's a really good player. I think Drew (Brees) said it best earlier in the week, we're going to see a lot of him. He's another good player added to that team. I think he gives them, more than anything else, confidence and a chance each week when they play. I think you clearly see the difference right now.


Drew Brees

Re: Final drive

I just remember looking at the clock and knowing there were a little over seven minutes left. I knew we were down by four and needed to go down and get a touchdown and win this thing. It was methodical. One play at a time. It was a good mix of pass and run and getting everyone involved. We had to convert some pretty critical third downs, which we did. Some were long-yardage and some were short-yardage. All in all, I thought it was a very effective drive. One in which we had all the confidence in the world that we were going to go down and score. Obviously you are trying to manage the clock, because you want to score and give them as little time left as possible. Sure enough, we scored with 50 seconds left and our defense did a good job of coming out, stopping them and winning the game.

Re: Jimmy Graham's third down catch where he was hit

He's a big body. A lot of times defenders have to come through him in order to get to the ball. If they hit him early it's pass interference and if they try to time it, it's still a big body. That's what tight ends are for. You put it on them and hope that they're strong enough and have the wherewithal to know they're getting hit and secure the football.

Re: If Graham is close to a go-to guy in the offense

I feel like we have a lot of go-to guys. Typically, the tight end will get favorable matchups because it's a safety or linebacker covering. In some cases, they have defensive backs covering him. Then who's going to cover Darren Sproles? Who's going to cover Lance Moore? Devery? Meachem? Marques? You can only have so many DB's on the field at a time. I feel like with our personnel and the way we use different formations and personnel groups, we really try to dictate to the defense the tempo of the game. We want to spread it around enough to where you can't just key on one guy. Everybody knows, going into a game, that this might be my day to have 10 catches for 100-plus yards and a couple of touchdowns.

Re: Pierre Thomas' fourth-quarter performance

He's a gamer. He's a ballplayer. He made a great catch on that screen play. He got knocked off-balance a little bit but still he was able to grip that ball with one hand and made a big play. That really kept the momentum going for us on that last drive. The touchdown play was great execution all-around.

Re: Stepping up in the pocket in the final drive

There are times as far as pocket movement goes, where you're just trying to find a lane where you get vision and press the defense a little bit. A couple of those were third downs where you're stepping up and now you're a threat to run and you stress them a little bit. We were able to get some major conversions that way. Our guys up front did a great job. It's physical up front, both in the run and pass game. There are those times where you have to step up and make a play.


Jimmy Graham 

RE: Emotional on the field?

Definitely. There's a lot of emotion in this game. Division rival, at their house and the game has been close so many times. We have a lot at stake. It was getting a little chippy out there, but that's football and I wouldn't have it any other way.

RE: Was anything said before the drive starting from the 11 yard line

Not that I recall. We just knew we were going to march down (the field) and get it in there.

RE: Playing against Jeremy Shockey

It's different seeing him in that jersey and seeing him with No. 80 on. He's, as far as a mentor, the ultimate teacher and he really did teach me a lot. He talks a lot and I talk a lot so it really was a great game. It really was.

RE: Not letting emotions escalate

We talked about it at halftime. We said no matter what anybody says or anybody does do not get a penalty that's going to cost us this game. Sean (Payton) harped on that. Coming out of the half we were very conscious of talking back, just not moving forward.

RE: Being the go-to guy

It's pretty cool. It's awesome that Drew (Brees) has so much faith in me. It just puts more faith in myself. It just makes me feel more confident. Hopefully we can just keep this streak going when we play Tampa next week.

RE: Importance of driving down field at end of game

Very important. They are a very good team and we're going to see them again. They can march down the field. Cam Newton is a special player. They have a lot of weapons over there. We know we're going to see them again. It's an ultimate win for us and now we've just got to keep moving forward.

Malcolm Jenkins 

RE: Turnaround from first half play

We killed ourselves with a lot of penalties. They did make some big plays. We knew coming in that coming into the game that this was one of the most explosive offenses as far as big plays, they're right up there at the top. We're blessed to have a game like that and fight back and we're excited. To have the type of guys we have on this team to God the glory and we came out with a victory. I was always taught to never underestimate a win, especially in this league. We're 4-1 right now and it feels good.

RE: Your involvement with the Roman Harper /Steve Smith tangle up

We're in this thing together. We're always preaching if they get a play make them pay for it so we're just in this thing together.

RE: Chippiest game you've been in as a pro?

Probably. Since this is only my third year, yeah this was probably the chippiest.

RE: Jeremy Shockey

He's a competitor. I don't think any of us like losing. He's still our guy. We still love him. He had some great plays on the field. He's a great competitor.

RE: Today's play

We take each drive one at a time. We killed ourselves early in the game and they earned some things. That late turnover put us in a bad situation but when the game's on the line we rose up. Our offense gave us a chance to win the game and we came up big.

RE: On the play of Patrick Robinson

Oh yeah. We're excited about him. He's night and day from where he was last year. I think he's finally starting to get it and starting to turn that corner. He's been playing well for us. We're excited about where he's going to go. We just take it one week at a time.

RE: The final penalty on the Panthers

It was big because it backed them up and took them out of field goal range. They wanted to try to get something quick and then it took them out of the range of his arm. We pressured a little bit and he (Newton) really didn't get a chance to set his feet when he threw it so that penalty was really big for us.


John Kasay 

Re: His emotions walking into the stadium

It was very comfortable. I was here for 15 seasons here in this stadium. I know the way things work. So it wasn't a huge deal from that standpoint. This was a big game for us. The Saints have been as kind and gracious as they could possibly be. It's a real privilege to be able to play for a team like this.

Re: Where this win ranks in this stadium

Rankings are impossible to pin down. The cool thing is this takes our team to 4-1. We are in a good position and when we're able to close and finish at the end, it's remarkable. They are a good team. I'm real pleased at the way it ended.

Re: Fans talking to him on the sideline

They pretty much yelled non-stop. It was positive. Everyone has been very kind. That was one of the things that made it very comfortable to me. People were very kind and welcoming. Words cannot express how thankful I am.


Ron Rivera 

RE: Today's game
Our guys played hard. They did a lot of good things. We had opportunities. We, unfortunately, didn't come out on top.

RE: Timeout before the half
Just before the half we were running guys on. They were running guys off. Truthfully, I over thought it. I wasn't sure if we had eleven, twelve, thirteen, I wasn't sure how many guys we had on. So I called the timeout. I thought the last thing we needed was to have thirteen guys on the field and give them another chance. That's why I called it and that one is squarely on me. Those three points come right on my shoulders.

RE: If a timeout considered at the end of the game
We were talking about it. It depends on what chart you are looking at. You can have all three timeouts and give yourself a chance like we did in terms of progressing down the field. It was a matter of strategy at that point.

RE: Coming back in the game with the back to back drives
Offensively we are doing some really good things and defensively we can get into a rhythm and make some things happen. We just need to continue that. Our offense has been very solid when we needed them to. Defense has gotten us off the field when we needed to. Unfortunately that last drive we had a couple opportunities on defense that we didn't do it on third downs. We would have liked to have that opportunity.

RE: Third down defense today
Against these guys it came back. This is a quality football team. They have one of the finer quarterbacks in the league with a good group of weapons. Unfortunately you can't cover them all. If you try to pressure them, he finds the guy that you are vacating. If you don't pressure him then he has times. Its pick your poison. You would like for one of us to get up and make a play at times in critical situations. We had some guys step up and make plays. It epitomizes how things were. They come out on the opening drive of the second half and we have perfect coverage. Charles Godfrey plays as about as good as anybody and the ball falls into the guy's stomach. That leads to a field goal. Sometimes those things are hard to swallow. What we need to do is go back to work and we will go back to work. We will practice and we will continue to work to get better. We have a goal. We have expectations and we have a direction we are heading and that's up.

RE: Concern about the hits Cam Newton took on the run plays
Yes, absolutely. It is kind of part of the way he plays. Some of them were called plays. The object obviously because since he is such a weapon, such a tool that when we do use we have to make sure we use him smart. The one thing I was glad to see is he did slide a couple times. So he is learning as well. Again, he is going to take those shots but we want to limit them as much as possible. I thought the play calling was exceptional. I thought we gave ourselves a chance. Again it is going to come back to us learning and executing. But we will get it.

RE: Our coverage of their tight ends
Part of it is about rotation and the play action. If we are playing cover two and they go with the play action, our middle backer gets sucked up and he gets over the top. If we are in cover three and the two guys suck up on him and they come out late and then he gets into the seam. The thing that we need to continue to work on is we have to be really good at making sure we can handle the run so that when they do play action we don't stake that extra step. Its about learning and doing the things we need to do.

RE: Teams reaction to late hit on Steve Smith in end zone
I was very pleased because again you are coming into our place and you are going to come after one of our guys. We are most certainly not going to take it. That's just the way it is. I know some guys will get some letters and some fines and all that stuff. But you know what; there is no place for that in this league. He may have gotten a little over zealous and hit Steve in the back but I was proud to see our guys react that way. We are not going to take it. Like I said before, we may be the little brothers and we may get punched around a little bit but we are not going to take it. We are going to fight back. I was very proud of them for that.

RE: Third down and two play, deep ball to Steve Smith
What happened was that we got the coverage we wanted. Cam let it go just a little soon. If Cam set his feet and held for a second, Steve was starting to pull away. It was just a matter of timing on that one. It was too bad because we got the coverage we wanted. Steve ran a pretty quick move and unfortunately Cam let it go a little too soon and it carried deep.

RE: Jeremy Shockey
What Jeremy was doing was really, that as he watched, he saw some of the things they were doing. He was letting us on to it, which was helping us. Again, when a guy has that type of experience and that much knowledge of the game, it is invaluable. When a guy can sit there and tell you when they are giving this, this is what you are going to get, so we pass it on. A lot of times you think they are going to change things. Apparently they didn't change a couple things and Jeremy was able to pass it on to us.

RE: Cam Newton's performance in general today
He was solid. He was sound. He gave us an opportunity. They only thing you would love to have back were the very first throw. I believe he threw the slant and Steve Smith ran the out. They were just off a little bit with each other. Again, we are going to continue to work on improving those things. The thing though is that with the way he played, he gave us a chance. That's all that you can ask, is that we have a chance.

RE: End of the first half play, ideally leave guys on the field to run clock out
Yes, you would like to but the second time when they are changing personnel we have an opportunity, we try to do that. Again, as it happened, I just wanted to make sure we didn't have thirteen on and give them an extra five yards closer.

RE: Second week to have a kick blocked
I'm going to have to take a look at it but the pressure came off the right side of our line. We will have to take a look and see how that all came unfolded.

RE: What went wrong with the final drive of the game
We got a couple of big throws that we were looking for. We were able to move the ball and got up to midfield. Unfortunately, we got a penalty. We had a couple drops. We missed a throw. Then he got some pressure where he got hit as he threw the ball. On each of those instances, when we look at it we will see we had a chance. We had a guy that was coming free or was free. It was a matter of having that extra second or not dropping the ball which we did a couple times. Then again, it's a part of it. You would love to make those catches and you would love to have them and unfortunately we didn't.

RE: Injuries
Omar Gaither didn't come back. He will get an MRI on his knee, I'm not sure which one it was. It was a question on his knee so we will find once they get the MRI or get the report back.

RE: Losses have been close, today's harder
No, they all suck to be honest with you. At some point it is going to turn around. When it does, like I keep saying, some people might not believe me but when it turns around, watch out, because we won't forget.

RE: The last drive of the game
The problem with that is really they want you to throw it down there. So then they drive up and make the tackle and the clock keeps running so you force yourself to use a timeout. Our philosophy is if we can stretch it and get you down field and make the catch, at least we can take a timeout after gaining twenty or twenty-five yards as oppose to six or seven. That was our thought process in attacking the way we did.


Cam Newton 

RE: Thoughts on the game
We played a good team and just came up on the short end of the stick again, very disheartening. I have faith that we're going to fix things, especially under Coach Rivera.

RE: Last drive of the game
I think everything was going okay until the incompletion. We just have to find a way to keep moving the sticks. LA (Legedu Naanee, WR) gave unbelievable effort in trying to catch the ball. We still have to get on the right track and come right back to the next play and get a completion just to move the chains. We had all our timeouts, so our managing our time would be on our side.

RE: On drive before last drive of the game (third and two)
We just weren't on the same page. We had been working all week on isolating Smitty (Steve Smith, WR) out there and the defensive back jumped outside, which I thought he was going to stay outside, but they brought pressure so I didn't have that initial move, or angle. That's where I'm throwing it to. You know, we've just got to come back next week so we can get better at it.

RE: On interception on first play of the game
It was my fault. Smitty (Steve Smith, WR) did an excellent job of running his route. I thought he was running the slant. You have to capitalize on every opportunity that you have. You look at it at the end of the game and you never know when you're going to need those points, or that time. You just never know what's going to happen. They started off the game unbelievable, a given seven points. It was my fault and we battled back. I don't know what else to say. There are still guys on this team that come out each and every day practice in, practice out, and game time, hurt and bruised, they still give it their all.

RE: On being hurt by loss
It hurts losing, period. You know you have standards and when you don't meet that quota of yourself you just ask yourself why. There's a reason we keep losing and I want to know the reason. Of course, they put more points on the board than us but it's something bigger than that. I think we need to minimize the self inflicted penalties. The defense helped us. They gave us an opportunity to help us put points on the board. We've just got to come back next week and find a way. Every game is not going to be a blow out, as you see, but, like I say, we've just got to find a way to win it.

RE: On what he's learned from playing great teams
Value each possession. You never know, look at the ball control and how long those guys kept the ball. It's unbelievable. Drew Brees is an excellent quarterback year in and year out. You get the ball in the early part of the quarter, you look up and, during your next drive, it's the end of the quarter. That's due to excellent ball control of the opposing team. You have to treat the ball with the up most respect. You never know if this possession could be the possession that you know you need points in the red zone. I mean three points is good but you would rather have seven points. There's just value in everything.

RE: Thoughts on altercation after TD pass with Smith
I was excited about Smitty (Steve Smith, WR) scoring. Both teams have passionate players. I don't think Roman Harper is a dirty player, by no means. From watching him on film before this game, he is an excellent player. That was out of his character. He hit Smitty and everybody was just consoling Smitty to see if he was ok. That's just the nature of the game.


Jeremy Shockey

Re: Overall take on the Game
You saw the game. We lost. They are a good football team, and we made some mistakes that we should not have made, and they took advantage of it.

Re: If the Panthers are tired of moral victories
We want to win, that's the goal every week. We are competing against good football teams, but again we have to find a way to get a win.

Re: If he had extra motivation today
I talk during the game. There is nothing different. Football players get traded, get released. You play against the same faces, different numbers, whatever. We lost again. It sucks. It hurts. We should have won it, and we did not. They are a good football team, and my hat goes off to them.

Re: The Panthers' timeout before halftime
It didn't cost us anything to be honest with you. We left a lot of points out there. It was a rough day, but that is what this sport is about. You let the moment define you, or you define the moment. Like I said, they are a good football team, and you can't make the mistakes we did. They took advantage of them, and we lost.


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