Brees finally broke through with a deep pass to Colston that they’d tried all game. The play led to a goal stand where the Panthers stopped the Saints on third down, leading to a fourth and two where the Panthers stopped the New Orleans running game.
Panthers went on to win the game 30-7, holding New Orleans below 30 for the first time in their last four games.
Also: Reggie Bush may have torn the miniscus in his left knee. I will not accompany the team on a flight to London to play San Diego, and will go to Birmingham, Ala. to have it looked at.
Panther:30; Saints: 7
The Saints began the third quarter with a three-and-out series that saw Brees throw a near pick.
The Panthers were immediately pushed to New Orleans’ 36-yard line with a pair of runs and a personal foul call. Delhomme floated a touchdown pass to Steve Smith to give his team a 20-7 advantage over the Saints. One of the most successful drives of the day, Carolina only possessed the ball for 1:16, converting three plays into 78 yards.
The Saints drive was over after a couple of penalties and another near pick by Brees stifled their series. Panther couldn’t continue their success, as they stayed in their own backfield for the entirety of their series. They punted after a eight-yard Delhomme run and an attempted pass to Williams.
On the following series, Brees’ attempted pass to Colston was picked by Ken Lucas, who returned the ball 30 yards to set the Panthers up on New Orleans’ 18-yard line. Consecutive Stewart runs netted nine yards, leading to a third and one on th nine-yard line. Stewart picked up three yards for the first down, setting the Panthers up with first and goal on the six-yard line. A failed pass to Muhammad and a two-yard Stewart run resulted in a third and four for the Panthers. Williams scored on the following play with a four-yard screen pass that gave Carolina a 7-27 lead.
A 25-yard pass to Jeremy Shockey put the Saints on the 50-yard line, where they stalled until they faced a fourth and one on the 49-yard line. McCallister attempted to gain the first down, but was met by the Panthers front seven. New Orleans, desperate and trailing 27-7, challenged the play that stayed in the Panthers’ possession.
The third quarter ended on a third and four for the Panthers.
Panthers: 27; Saints: 7
Bush began the second quarter with a series of runs, performing a successful set of downs. But Defensive end Julius Peppers forced a fumble that was recovered by strong safety Chris Harris.
A pair of Stewart runs began the series for the Panthers. A 19-yard pass to wide receiver Steve Smith kicked off a touchdown drive that was finished on a 18-yard run for by Stewart, which capped off a 4 play, 40 yard drive that only took 2 minutes with a short field. The score gave the Panthers a 10-7 lead.
After being stuffed on another punt return, Bush ran two consecutive plays for a total of only a yard. Brees found tight end Billy Miller on a third and ten from the 27-yard line to keep the drive alive. Saints center Jonathon Goodwin went down on the play and was helped to the sideline. Brees followed the play up with another complete pass, this one went to Saints wide receiver Devery Henderson.
Bush was stopped short on a third-and-one play where he loss two yards, leading to a Saints punt.
A 29-yard flee flicker led to a Smith catch that sent the Panthers to the 30-yard line. A short pass to Smith and a Williams dropped ball led to a 48-yard field goal kick by Kasay that gave the Panthers a 13-7 lead.
Later, two great defensive plays by Richard Marshall led to a Saints punt. The Panthers had a short possession, performing a three-and-out before a punt with seven seconds less in the first half.
Bush ran off every remaining second on the clock trying to finish the punt, but was ran out of bounds, leading to the end of the first half.
Panthers: 13; Saints:7
I’m posting from the press box of Bank of America Stadium, covering the Carolina Panthers for the Rock Hill Herald of South Carolina. The Panthers are facing a 3-3New Orleans Saints team that would have a record identical to the 4-2 Panthers.
The early minutes of the first quarter saw the Panthers orchestrate a productive drive that included 10 plays and a total of 50 yards with a time of possession of 5:49. Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme hit wide recievers Dwayne Jarret and Mushin Muhammad on the drive, while running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart finished out the last couple of plays which led to a 39 yard John Kasay field goal.
After a three-and-out possession, the Panthers stuffed Saints running back Bush on the punt. They gave Bush the yards on the following down, as he ran for 29 yards. Peppers got a sack on Saints quarterback Drew Brees on was immediately erased with a 13-yard pass to tight end Jeremy Shockey.
After a series of running plays the Saints ended the first quarter at the one-yard line after a Deuce McCallister. Full back Mike Karney immediately scored the one-yard touchdown and a kick by Taylor Mehlhaff was good.