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Saints squander 21 point lead, hold on for wild victory over Panthers

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It was a classic NFC South battle between the Panthers and Saints.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints jumped on the Carolina Panthers early on Sunday, starting with a 21-0 lead. In traditional rivalry fashion, the Panthers were able battle back. A 24-10 halftime lead quickly vanished thanks to a porous defense we’re accustomed to seeing. Despite the Saints answering a third quarter Panthers touchdown to go up 31-17, it’d quickly become tied 31 early in the final quarter.

The Saints drove down the field and had an overturned touchdown reception by tight end Josh Hill that helped the Saints go up 38-30 late in the fourth quarter. This cheap shot by Kawann Short is likely going to draw a call from the league office.

The Panthers would answer back with a 2-yard Cam Newton rushing touchdown after the Saints were guilty of another defensive pass interference in the end zone with 2:58 left in the game. They’d add a 2-point conversion to tie things up at 38.

The Saints had one more shot, as Drew Brees led his team down the field for the potential game-winning field goal from Wil Lutz. He connected from 52 to give the Saints the go-ahead score, and the defense would hold on for a 41-38 victory.

Drew Brees became just the NFL’s sixth quarterback to go over 50,000 yards with any one team, and finished 34-for-49, 465 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, and an interception. Brandin Cooks had 7 receptions for 165 yards and a score. The Saints defense hit Cam Newton 13 total times on the day.

The Saints improve to 2-3 and travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs next Sunday. Meanwhile, the defending NFC champions drop to 1-5 on the season and host the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7.