NFL, NFLPA to Review How Panthers Handled Hit on QB Newton

NFL, NFLPA to Review How Panthers Handled Hit on QB Newton

Drew Brees threw for 376 yards and two touchdowns before the Saints' defense clamped down on Carolina's final possession to complete a 31-26 win over the Panthers.

With the win over the Panthers, the Saints advanced to the NFC Divisional Playoffs, where they will take on the second-seeded Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis next Sunday night.

Brees wasn't done lighting up the scoreboard for the Saints in the half, connecting with Josh Hill for a 9-yard touchdown pass. "We were gonna try to win the game on that play".

Quarterback Drew Brees has been around the Saints since 2006 and is undefeated in the dome in playoff games at 4-0 since the 2006 season. But the Panthers stalled four times from inside the New Orleans 25, settling for four field goal attempts on those drives, one of which kicker Graham Gano surprisingly missed. He had to be carted off with his left leg immobilized.

The Saints (12-5) advance to play at NFC Central champion Minnesota (13-3 with a bye) at 3:40 p.m. Sunday.

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers had a first down at the New Orleans 21 with 41 seconds left and a chance for a winning touchdown that seemed improbable when they trailed by more than two touchdowns late in the first half.

New Orleans has lost numerous players to injuries. "We nearly let them back in the game, but here I am standing as victor".

Brees, a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback, was seldom pressured by the Panthers' pass rush, and generally picked apart the Carolina secondary in a 31-26 victory at the Superdome.

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It appeared a pretty 46-yard pass from Brees to Michael Thomas with 8 minutes left would ease the minds of many in the building.

As Payton discussed the most striking aspects of the Saints' evolution this season, he began by highlighting "the amount of guys we've had to replace and the new faces that are stepping up".

The Saints' late, gritty defensive stand bailed out coach Sean Payton, whose decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 from the Carolina 47-yard line with two minutes remaining will be a hot topic for debate around the water cooler Monday morning. The saints have a pair of excellent pass rushers in Alex Okafor and Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Jordan, he leads the team with 13 sacks.

The Saints will dominate this game from start to finish and defend their home field convincingly. The pair averages 124 rushing yards per game, while the Panthers rank 2nd in the National Football League allowing just 88 a contest.

However, the decision almost led to the end of the Saints' season.

The former MVP also tallied his second-longest touchdown pass of his career in the postseason on Sunday, a 55-yard hookup with rookie running back Christian McCaffrey.

The Saints have an improved running game with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara and a much better defense than a year ago, which makes the Saints an extremely unsafe team going into the playoffs.

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