Fresh off a 38-3 dusting of the Green Bay Packers in week one, the New Orleans Saints were now traveling to Charlotte to face the Sam Darnold-led Carolina Panthers. The Panthers were 1-0 after a 19-14 victory over the New York Jets in week one, and were looking to go 2-0 to start an NFL season for the first time since 2017. The Saints however, had won 10 straight games against NFC South opponents.
The Panthers dominated the first half, winning the game in the trenches both offensively and defensively, racing out to a 10-0 lead midway through the second quarter and taking a 17-0 lead into halftime.
The Panthers’ defense harassed Jameis Winston the entire first half, leading to an ugly interception reminiscent of Winston’s worst Tampa days as the Saints were trying to score just before the end of the half. At halftime, New Orleans had 65 total offensive yards, emphasis on offensive! Meanwhile, the Panthers had 274 yards on offense. Talk about total domination.
Receiving the ball in the second half, the Saints would try to climb out of their hole but immediately go three-and-out. The Saints would spend the second quarter squandering more opportunities, while the Panthers would do the same, failing to extend their lead in a scoreless quarter.
New Orleans would get a gift interception by Sam Darnold late in the third quarter and finally get on the board on a Jameis Winston’s run into the end zone to make the score 17-7 in favor of Carolina. Despite the score, the Saints’ offense would continue to show no bite at all, surrendering more three-and-outs to Carolina and unable to apply any real pressure on the Panthers.
In the fourth quarter, Carolina would finally put some separation between the Saints and themselves, with a Christian McCaffrey’s 11-yard touchdown that took the score to 23-7 Panthers after a missed extra point. Carolina would add a field goal to make the score 26-7, their final margin of victory.
Jameis Winston would throw another ugly interception capping off an ugly day. Sean Payton has a lot more work to do to turn Winston into a quarterback that can take the Saints were they want to go. The Saints fall to 1-1, while the Panthers are now 2-0 on the young season.
Here is a live quarter-by-quarter description of how the game unfolded:
Panthers start the game with the ball, on the second play of the game, Darnold finds McCaffrey for a 32-yard gain to the Saints’ 40-yard line. Darnold then finds DJ Moore inside the Saints’ red zone. Darnold finds Brandon Zylstra for a touchdown. in the blink of an eye.
On the run. On the mark. Sam Darnold delivers! #KeepPounding— NFL (@NFL) September 19, 2021
: #NOvsCAR on FOX
: NFL app pic.twitter.com/xi6FC8MZdy
NO: 0 - CAR: 7
Saints start at their 35-yard line after a return by Deonte Harris. After the Saints get to midfield on a penalty, Winston is sacked, forcing New Orleans back. Saints then commit two false start penalties back to back and stall at midfield. Blake Gillikin pins the Panthers inside their 10-yard line.
Panthers take over at their 7-yard line, but a roughing-the-passer penalty on Payton Turner bails Carolina out. Saints can’t apply any pressure on Sam Darnold who finds Dan Arnold for a first down to midfield. Panthers eventually stall and punt.
Saints start at their 10-yard line. Jameis Winston’s pass is batted down on third down and New Orleans goes three-and-out. Gillikin unleashes a big punt returned to the Panthers’ 35-yard line.
Panthers primarily run the ball but eventually Darnold finds DJ Moore into Saints’ territory. Panthers enter the red zone as the opening quarter ends.
Panthers start the quarter at the Saints’ 17-yard line and get to first-and-goal. Carolina fails to convert on third-and-goal. Carolina elects to kick a field goal on 4th-and-goal.
NO: 0 - CAR: 10
Saints begin at their 25-yard line and find their first passing first down on a Winston pass to Chris Hogan. On the next play, Winston is sacked for the second time, incurring a big loss. Saints stall and have to punt again. To this point of the game, Carolina is winning the game in the trenches.
Carolina starts at its 27-yard line. On 3rd-and-6, Panthers convert yet again to DJ Moore. Christian McCaffrey runs for another first down into Saints’ territory. The Panthers get into the red zone on a pass to Dan Arnold. As the two-minute warning hits, the Panthers face a third-and-goal at the Saints 2-yard line. Sam Darnold finds DJ Moore for a touchdown.
Darnold to DJ Moore puts the @Panthers up 17-0. #KeepPounding— NFL (@NFL) September 19, 2021
: #NOvsCAR on FOX
: NFL app pic.twitter.com/CvRjvSfK7i
NO: 0 - CAR: 17
Deonte Harris returns the kickoff to the Saints’ 43-yard line. Saints begin the drive with an intentional grounding penalty and immediately face a 2nd-and-21. Winston finds Lil’Jordan Humphrey for the Saints’ longest pass of the half (27-yard) into Carolina territory. On third-and-10, Jameis Winston throws an ugly interception trying to go for the end zone on third down.
Panthers take the ball with 23 seconds and a penalty on the Saints gives Carolina the ball at their own 47-yard line. Panthers cannot score and at halftime, they lead 17-0.
Saints begin their drive at 25-yard line and two runs with Alvin Kamara gain no yards. Winston misses Marquez Callaway on 3rd-and-10 and Saints immediately go three-and-out to start the second half.
Panthers begin their drive at their 20-yard line. A Saints’ unnecessary roughness penalty gives Carolina the ball at midfield, Carolina then quickly converts another first down into Saints’ territory. New Orleans finally gets to Darnold, with Bradley Roby sacking the quarterback. Zane Gonzalez’s 50-yard attempt is blocked by Carl Granderson and Zach Baun returns the blocked kick 30 yards to Carolina’s 37-yard line.
FG BLOCK. Here come the @Saints.— NFL (@NFL) September 19, 2021
: #NOvsCAR on FOX
: NFL app pic.twitter.com/6Fue1UQlm9
Saints immediately incur another penalty and are behind the chains. New Orleans quickly faces a fourth down and 5 at the Panthers 33-yard line. On 4th down, Winston gets sacked and the Saints turn the ball over on downs.
Panthers take over at their 40-yard line. On 3rd-and-2, the Saints stop Carolina and elect to punt.
Saints begin at their 12-yard line and go three-and-out again, with Alvin Kamara nonchalantly going out of bounds short of the first down marker. An awful game all around for New Orleans.
On the very first play, Sam Darnold tries a flip and basically hands an interception to Malcolm Roach, which is returned to the Panthers’ 18-yard line.
BIG ROACH TAKES THE BALL AWAY!#NOvsCAR : FOX pic.twitter.com/jL1OU5bugD— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) September 19, 2021
Saints move inside the 5-yard line on a run by Taysom Hill. The Saints face a 2nd-and-goal at the Panthers’ one-yard line as the quarter ends.
From Carolina’s one-yard line, the Saints inexplicably run a toss play to Alvin Kamara that the Panthers blow up, with New Orleans now facing a third-and-goal from the 8-yard line. From the 8-yard line, Winston runs into the end zone and bails Sean Payton out after the terrible second down call.
Jameis will take it himself! #Saints— NFL (@NFL) September 19, 2021
: #NOvsCAR on FOX
: NFL app pic.twitter.com/Kzdm8PQzHF
NO: 7 - CAR: 17
Panthers begin at their 25-yard line and Sam Darnold completes two passes for first downs to midfield. Saints eventually sack Sam Darnold on third down and force a punt.
Saints are pinned at their 10-yard line and go three-and-out, with Winston again being heavily pressured by the Panthers’ defensive line.
Carolina starts the drive at their own 47-yard line and another roughing-the-passer penalty on the Saints puts the Panthers in Saints’ territory. Panthers throw the ball instead of playing conservatively and convert. Panthers get into the red zone and Christian McCaffrey runs into the end zone from 11 yards out for the dagger touchdown. Panthers miss the extra point.
CMC TOUCHDOWN. @CMC_22— NFL (@NFL) September 19, 2021
: #NOvsCAR on FOX
: NFL app pic.twitter.com/3Z39Pos5nj
NO: 7 - CAR: 23
Saints take over at their 30-yard line and on third down, Jameis Winston gets sacked by Brian Burns. on 4th-and-10, the Saints have to go for it and Jameis Winston misses on a pass to Lil’Jordan Humphrey.
Carolina takes over at the Saints’ 32-yard line looking to bleed the clock. Panthers eventually stall and score a field goal.
NO: 7 - CAR: 26
Deonte Harris returns the kickoff to the Saints 35-yard line. Winston finds Juwan Johnson for a pass into Panthers territory, but then throws another patented terrible pass that is intercepted by rookie cornerback Jaycee Horn, son of former Saint Joe Horn. Panthers take over.
Jaycee Horn's first NFL INT! #KeepPounding— NFL (@NFL) September 19, 2021
: #NOvsCAR on FOX
: NFL app pic.twitter.com/XG5dNVOnr0
Carolina runs the ball down to the two-minute warning, then holds the ball and punt with 24 seconds left. Carolina wins the game 26-7 and is now 2-0 in the division, while the Saints fall to 1-1 on the young season.
Who was the biggest goat after today’s Saints loss at Carolina?
This poll is closed
Sean Payton: didn’t have his team ready to play.
Jameis Winston, who was "Tampa Jameis" today.
The offensive line: their play today was offensive.
I blame all the injuries on defense. Saints will be fine.
A good burger is never to blame for a loss.
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