Brees comes to pass when Saints need him

Ruben Hill
January 13, 2018

That was as close as they got, prolonging a painful trend in an excruciating 31-26 loss Sunday night in the NFC wild-card round.

-The Saints scored three touchdowns in the first half.

Charlotte businesses prepared for big crowds ahead of Sunday's playoff matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints, hoping to cash in on the big game.

QB Drew Brees: 11-11 record as a starter, 6,498 passing yards, 44 TD passes, 19 INT, sacked 35 games in 22 games vs. Panthers dating back to '06. "My helmet had come down low enough over my eyelid and it got pressed by the player's stomach, I believe", Newton said. "That's what we didn't do".

But Newton promptly returned on the next series, nearly immediately connecting with Christian McCaffrey on a 56-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

Brees tried to chew up the last of the clock, and he succeeded in devouring Carolina's timeouts, but the Saints drive stalled at midfield.

The Bills had plenty of chances down the stretch, but a huge penalty against Charles Clay and then a tackle that knocked quarterback Tyrod Taylor out of the game ended any threat of a comeback. Defensive end Cameron Jordan then joined Bell in bring Newton to the ground. Panthers Coach Ron Rivera expressed displeasure afterward with the intentional grounding call.

Bell broke up an errant deep ball on third down, and on fourth-and-23 with the game on the line, defensive coordinator Dennis Allen went back to what's worked before.

It was a game of missed opportunities for the Panthers, who started out on top but saw a number of dropped catches and misfires when it mattered. We gave up too many plays on the back end.

Gano kicked 27, 39, 58-yard field goals in the second quarter.

The Panthers drove the ball inside the Saints red zone four times before finally scoring on Newton's 14-yard touchdown pass to Greg Olsen early in the fourth quarter.

"I feel like it was kind of taken away from us". Speed to beat opposing defenses long has been a weakness for the Panthers most of this season. From a back-shoulder throw up the seam to Josh Hill for 25 yards to a 46-yard bomb while on the move to Michael Thomas, this was a vintage Brees performance after a season when his greatness was often obscured by Kamara and Ingram.

Panthers offensive tackle Matt Kalil also is available to play after being listed as questionable with an illness Friday. "It's frustrating. We beat the Patriots". But at the same time, they may be doing some different things that we have to get ready for to go out and stop. "We'll experience it now, going to Minnesota".

Brees and Payton teamed to lead the Saints to a Super Bowl triumph in the 2009 season.

However, any player who shows "gross or sustained vertical instability" following a hit is now required to be evaluated for a concussion in the locker room, according to the league's updated concussion protocol. Newton attempted to walk off the hit, but instead sat down on the field near Carolina's sideline and was attended to by team doctors. But Newton was never checked for a concussion, much less a medical timeout even being called, and the public outcry in the game's aftermath heightened awareness of the issue.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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