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Saints fall to Panthers 22-14 as offensive woes continue

The Saints’ offensive line has a lot of explaining to do.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Following their first loss of the season, a disheartening 20-10 setback against the Tampa Bay Bucs last week, the New Orleans Saints (1-1) were back on the field and in the NFC South with a contest on the road against the 0-2 Carolina Panthers. Vying to go 2-1 in the division, the Saints had to deal with Baker Mayfield and old foe Christian McCaffrey, while the Panthers were trying to avoid a damaging 0-3 start to the season.

In the first half, the Saints displayed all the signs of a mediocre-to-bad team: a sputtering offense that could muster nothing save for penalties and missed plays. Jameis Winston displayed the lack of patience that has plagued him throughout his career, eschewing valuable check-downs to go for longer throws that he largely missed. On the one 49-yard pass that Winston finally completed to Chris Olave, the Saints would stall and attempt a 30-yard field goal that was blocked.

The good news? Well, there was none. Alvin Kamara, back on the field, fumbled with the game tied 0-0, a fumble that was returned for a touchdown to give Carolina a 7-0 lead. Two field goals would give the Panthers a 13-0 lead at halftime.


In the second half, the Saints would continue their offensive futility through the third quarter, entering the fourth quarter trailing 13-0. Going into hurry-up mode, the Saints would finally find a bit of offensive rhythm, with Winston driving the team 83 yards with 7-for-7 passing to record the first score of the day for New Orleans, a 5-yard run into the end zone by Mark Ingram.

Alas, on the very next possession, the Saints’ defense would turn its worst shift of the day, allowing a 76-yard catch-and-run to Panthers wide receiver Laviska Shenault, a score allowed by terrible tackling by PJ Williams and Tyrann Mathieu. A missed 2-point conversion would give Carolina a 19-7 lead.

Following a tipped ball interception by Winston, the Panthers would add a field goal to make the score 22-7 midway through the fourth quarter. The Saints’ offense would quickly revert to being overwhelmed, notably by the various blitzes of the Panthers’ defense. It didn’t help that in the fourth quarter, both Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry were out with foot injuries.

Trailing 22-7, the Saints would mount one last effective drive, as Winston would get into the Panthers’ red zone in two passes to Chris Olave, who had an NFL career day and Tre’Quan Smith who made his season debut. Winston would find MArquez Callaway for a circus catch touchdown to make the score 22-14 in favor of Carolina.

Winston would have one last Hail Mary pass that was picked off by Jaycee Horn to seal the victory for the Panthers. The Saints at 1-2 are a mediocre team with a lot to work on, notably on the offensive side of the ball.


Below is a quarter-by-quarter recap of the game:


First Quarter

  • Saints kickoff and the Panthers return the ball to the 27-yard line. Panthers begin the game with a 14-yard run by McCaffrey. Panthers eventually stall on an incomplete pass by Mayfield and the Panthers punt.
  • Saints take over at their 11-yard line. On the second play of the game, Alvin Kamara gains 27 yards on a run. Saints get into Panthers’ territory on a first down pass to Mike Thomas. Saints eventually stall after a couple of penalties and Saints punt.
  • Panthers take over at their 20-yard line after a touchback. Panthers go three-and-out on an incomplete pass from Mayfield to DJ Moore, and punt.
  • Saints take over at their 30-yard line. On the second play of the drive, Alvin Kamara fumbles and the Panthers return the fumble for a touchdown.
  • NO: 0 - CAR: 7
  • Saints begin at their 25-yard line after the kickoff. On third down, Winston misses Jarvis Landry. Saints punt.
  • Panthers start at their 33-yard line. Panthers get into Saints’ territory on a long pass to Robbie Anderson. Panthers face a 3rd-and-10 inside the Saints 30-yard line as the quarter ends.

Second Quarter

  • Saints stop the Panthers on 3rd down, and Eddy Pineiro makes a 45-yard field goal.
  • NO: 0 - CAR: 10
  • Saints return the kickoff to their 26-yard line. On third down, Saints commit a holding penalty on 3rd-and-2 and face a 3rd-and-12. Saints go nowhere and have to punt again.
  • Panthers take over at their 29-yard line. On third down, Saints sack Baker Mayfield and force a three-and-out.
  • Saints take over at their 35-yard line and start the drive with two penalties on Chris Olave and Juwan Johnson. On 3rd-and-7 Saints stall again and punt.
  • Panthers begin at their 18-yard line and drive into Saints’ territory. Panthers face a 4th-and-3 at the Saints’ 30-yard line and elect to kick. Eddy Pineiro makes a 48-yard field goal.
  • NO: 0 - CAR: 13
  • Saints return the kickoff to their 19-yard line and quickly face a 3rd-and-6 at the two-minute warning. Michael Thomas picks up the first down on a slant. Winston finds Chris Olave on a deep throw to the Panthers’ 18-yard line for 49 yards. Saints eventually stall in the red zone and Wil Lutz’s 30-yard field goal is blocked.
  • Panthers take over and Baker Mayfield is sacked on the first play. The clock expires and the Saints trail 13-0 at halftime.


Third Quarter

  • Saints start at their 8-yard line after a penalty on the kickoff return. Saints gain a couple of first downs on the ground with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Saints drive into Panthers’ territory. Winston finds Tre’Quan Smith into the Panthers’ red zone. Winston is eventually sacked and Wil Lutz misses a 48-yard field goal.
  • Panthers take over at their 30-yard line and begin with a 16-yard run by McCaffrey. Carolina faces a 4th-and-4 at the Saints’ 38-yard line and Mayfield’s pass is batted down by Demario Davis.
  • Saints take over on downs at their 38-yard line. On 3rd-and-4, Saints botch the snap, as center Erik McCoy snapped it early. Winston fumbles it, but falls on the ball. Saints punt as their offensive ineptitude continues.
  • Panthers start at their 10-yard line and drive into Saints’ territory. but stall and punt.
  • Saints take over at their 10-yard line and immediately face a 3rd-and-11. Winston finds Chris Olave for a first down as the quarter ends.

Fourth Quarter

  • Saints get into Panthers’ territory on passes from Winston to Thomas, Olave and Trautman. Winston finds Tre’Quan Smith for 23 yards to the Panthers’ 5-yard line. On 1st-and-goal, Mark Ingram runs into the end zone for a touchdown, New Orleans’ first points of the game.
  • NO: 7 - CAR: 13
  • Panthers return the kick to their 33-yard line. On second down, MAyfield finds MAviska Shenault for a 67-yard touchdown after absolutely dreadful tackling by the Saints’ defense.
  • NO: 7 - CAR: 19
  • Saints begin at their 25-yard line. A pass by Winston is tipped and picked off. Panthers take over at New Orleans’ 37-yard line. Carolina gets into the red zone running the ball with McCaffrey. Panthers stall and attempt a 34-yard field goal converted by Eddy Pineiro.
  • NO: 7 - CAR: 22
  • Saints take over at their 25-yard line and go three-and-out after yet another penalty on the offensive line.
  • Panthers receive the punt and drive from their 20-yard line and eat-up the clock by mixing the pass and the run. Saints begin taking their timeouts. Panthers run the ball and punt.
  • Saints take over at their 10-yard line. Winston finds Olave and Tre’Quan Smith and in two plays the Saints are in the red zone.
  • Winston finds Marquez Callaway for a touchdown, a circus catch by Callaway that saved another interception for Winston.
  • NO: 14 - CAR: 22
  • Saints go for an on-side kick that is recovered by Carolina. Panthers run the ball and face a second down at the two-minute warning. Panthers bleed the clock and punt.
  • Winston is picked off on a Hail Mary pass with 20 second left. Panthers kneel and win the game 22-14.


Who are you angry at after today’s Saints loss to the Panthers?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    The offensive line can’t block the wind
    (27 votes)
  • 15%
    Jameis Winston is always going for the big plays
    (34 votes)
  • 16%
    Pete Carmichael is in over his head
    (35 votes)
  • 28%
    I am blaming everyone, I need a burger
    (62 votes)
  • 27%
    We miss Sean Payton
    (60 votes)
218 votes total Vote Now