They said, “You can’t beat a team three times in one season.” Well, they were wrong. Still, in what was another roller-coaster of a game with plenty of ups and downs along the way, here are a couple that stood out.
Up: Drew Brees
In a game where the opposition held the Saints to only 41 rushing yards as a team, the game’s offense fell on the shoulders of Drew Brees if the Saints wanted to win. I’m willing to give the Saints rushing attack a pass as it was clearly the Panthers game plan to stop the run and force Drew to throw. And throw he did. He finished with 376 yards, 2 TDs, and one interception. It’s his seventh career postseason game with over 300 passing yards, and he’s shown the rest of the NFL that the Saints still have #9 at the helm who can be “Drew Brees” if needed. Michael Thomas, Josh Hill, and Ted Ginn deserve honorable mentions in the passing game, but Brees was able to lay in perfect balls to the Saints receivers all game.
Up: Cam Jordan
When it came up to our Cam (Jordan) vs their Cam (Newton), our Cam was able to make some big plays. Cam Jordan was again a one-man wrecking crew on the defensive line, finishing with only three tackles, one sack, and one pass batted down at the line of scrimmage.
Don’t @ me, but the Saints defense didn’t have a great day as a whole. Yes, they were able to hold the Panthers out of the endzone through the fourth quarter, but they allowed the Panthers to drive up and the down the field most of the game. It was a bend-but-don’t-break type of mentality, and they were able to make a few plays when it mattered most, but this was not the same defense we have seen through the 2017 season.
Up: A Win is a Win!
The Saints are going to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs to face the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis. With the Atlanta Falcons heading to Philadelphia as favorites to beat the Eagles next week, if the Saints are able to upset the Vikings, it would put the Saints in position to host the NFC Championship in two weeks in New Orleans versus the rival Atlanta Falcons. It would be great for the Saints to be able to play in front of their home fans for the Conference Championship Game, and winning this game was the first step in the postseason.