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Saints vs. Panthers Sunday Night Football Notables

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Following the game Sunday night between the Saints and Panthers, I highlighted several plays throughout including individual players, plays, and any controversial calls.

Wesley Hitt

The Saints took on a divisional foe Sunday night in the Carolina Panthers. It's was a crucial game as both teams were 9-3 and fighting for the divisional championship. They face off again in two weeks on the Panthers' home turf. On this night, the New Orleans Saints were not only attempting to rebound from a horrific loss to the Seattle Seahawks last week, but in lighter faire, attempting to break the record for the loudest dome. Now, onto the replays of tonight's huge game!

UPDATE: The loudest dome record was not broken Sunday night. The record was 126. The MBS Dome reached 122.

On the first drive for the Panthers, the Saints started out the game horrible on stopping the Panthers on 3rd down conversions. They can contain the run well but still not a team that can contain Cam Newton's legs. They did record a sack on Newton to hold the Panthers to a field goal.

Total meltdown by the Saints to begin. Three and out by the offense and a huge foul against the Special Teams. So far, this is a Saints team not learning from the Seahawks game. Receivers still cannot catch anything. Tackling is terrible again on the first two series. The Panthers seem content to convert every 3rd down and nickle and dime the Saints' defense. The secondary has to stop letting the receivers and running backs come to them and get up there and hit them in the mouth.

Drew Brees and the Saints settled down on their 2nd possession to score a touchdown Brees to Colston. What was noticeable is they were able to control the pace of the game, settle in, and even used the run game they neglected in the first possession. It was methodical and the offensive line held well for once. This touchdown pass was an NFL record: Brees has thrown 30+ touchdowns in 6 straight seasons.

Notables after one quarter: No Pierre Thomas or Jimmy Graham. Saints defense has been great in the red zone, forcing the Panthers to settle for two field goals.

Another notable: Offensive line has 19 penalties for holding thus far in the season; 2nd most in the league.

Saints 14-6 over the Panthers. Drew Brees and a balanced offense settled in. 2nd sack of Cam Newton by Cam Jordan to kill a 3rd down by the Panthers helps fuel the Saints' game late in the 2nd quarter. Note: Cam Jordan is a beast!

After one half the Saints lead 21-6 and have shown a more balanced attack. Finally, in the last two drives Pierre Thomas and Jimmy Graham got into the game, with Graham catching a pass from Brees to make it 21-6. The Saints receive the ball in the 2nd half. It seems settling in for both offense and defense has been a problem.

To start the second half, the Saints go three and out but it is marred by a strange call by Coach Sean Payton to decline a holding penalty which would have given the Saints a 1st down. It would have given the Saints a new set of downs. That was a strange blunder and again calls into question the play calling.

Drew Brees has his 7th straight season of 4,000 + yards passing.

David Hawthrone has contained Steve Smith of the Panthers all game and Cam Jordan has sacked Cam Newton for the second time in the game. Its quickly becoming a liability for the Panthers. The pressure by the Saints D is keeping the Panthers at bay.

Marques Colston is huge for 129 yards into the 4th quarter.

I have a difference of opinion on holding with Chris Collinsworth (NBC) with which I usually disagree . Holding is a penalty. I am sorry if you disagree. Unless you are talking about the Saints. Then you usually agree with calls. You were a mediocre player, not hall material. Learn football.

5th sack of Cam Newton on the night (Junior Galette). It's starting to get real for the Panthers. The 8 game winning streak is gone.

The Saints took control of the game and the tempo went away from the Carolina Panthers. With a 31-13 win over the Panthers, the Saints go next to St Louis and take control of the NFC South. In two weeks, this game gets played again, this time in Carolina. If both teams win out and they split their matchups, the Saints get the bye. At this point, the Saints not only look great in the playoffs by winning out, but can get to the Super Bowl by two wins when the playoffs begin, and can clinch the NFC South by a win in two weeks on the road against the Panthers.