NFC wild-card notes: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints

Arnold Nichols
January 13, 2018

Fans said they are excited to watch the game and cheer on their Panthers. But they have not been back to the NFC title game since then. "I told him (Newton) I was coming all game". If the play had been reviewed and overturned, Carolina's drive would have started its potential game-winning drive from its own 47 instead of its own 31. New Orleans has lost a number of players to injuries.

When it takes four seconds to decide whether to throw a flag on a blatant pass interference, in which the cornerback tackled the receiver by the ankles before the ball arrived, the officiating has to be questioned. Despite having a first down on the Saints' 26-yard line, trailing 31-26 with 58 seconds left, the Panthers couldn't get into the end zone.

"Yeah, I wanted to play Carolina because I want to see how they operate", Lattimore said. "I thought somebody had stuck a finger in my eye, but I got a visor so that couldn't happen".

"I'm glad he intercepted it", said Brees.

The next time Carolina got the ball, the Panthers faced second-and-7 from their 20, and Newton took a hard hit to the head from Saints defensive end David Onyemata.

On Sunday, the New Orleans Saints moved past the Wildcard round of the playoffs with their 31-26 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

"Our quarterback was out of the pocket", he said.

The former Buckeyes got involved early, as after a missed Panthers field goal, Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Ginn.

Backup Derek Anderson came into the game to replace Newton, the Panthers down by the score of 24-19 midway through the fourth quarter. They turned their first four trips within New Orleans' 22-yard line into nine points.

"You feel like it's a brotherhood that will always be there, " Brees said. We knew it was going to be a challenge. Richardson spent time in the Panthers' locker room following the game. Other players have developed into more significant roles as the Saints ascended to the top of the NFC South and past the wild-card round of the playoffs.

The Saints totaled 230 yards on 19 plays for the three touchdowns to close the first half after their first two drives. It wasn't until early in the fourth quarter, on their fifth red zone visit, that Newton found Greg Olsen - the biggest thorn in the Saints' side defensively - for a touchdown and one-score deficit for the first time since late in the first half. The pass was incomplete, but the Saints' Ken Crawley was called for pass interference.

"Had half of those been touchdowns, we'd be sitting in a different spot", Jordan said.

The Bills finished with 263 yards, with 119 of those coming from hobbled running back LeSean McCoy (ankle).

Newton completed 24-of-40 passes for 349 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Offensively, the Saints have evolved as well, particularly with the emergence of versatile running back Alvin Kamara, who put up regular-season numbers (728 yards and eight TDs rushing, 826 yards and five TDs receiving and a kickoff return TD) worthy of rookie-of-the-year consideration. The four sacks on Newton were bad, and Brees did plenty of damage, but nothing compared to Newton only having two targets to work with, neither of which was a wide receiver.

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