Tuesday, 16 January, 2018

New Orleans Saints 21, Carolina Panthers 9

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Wong | 13 January, 2018, 03:28

A 31-26 win in the Superdome means Brees and Co progress to meet the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday. The Panthers came in with the NFL's third-ranked rush defense and held the Saints to 41 rushing yards.

The New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars have advanced to the NFL's divisional round by winning at home on Sunday.

Under Richardson, the Panthers have compiled an overall record - regular season and postseason - of 183-184-1 since the Carolina's inaugural season in 1995.

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.

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles averaged just 3.8 yards per pass attempting, completing 12 of 23 for 87 yards. "We know how to play together, we know where people are going to be and so we're a lot more confident", Te'o said.

- It was a remarkable performance by a remarkable player in Drew Brees.

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"If a team is going to give you that, then I feel with the matchups we have outside that there should be opportunities", Brees said.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is tended to by medical personnel.

With the Panthers in position for their first lead, Newton was called for intentional grounding, which cost 13 yards, a loss of down and a 10-second runoff. A potential 14-point swing deflated the Panthers, and Carolina spent the rest of the half trading field goals for touchdowns. My helmet had came down low enough over my eyelid and it got pressed into the player's stomach, I believe. And with fullback Zach Line scoring just before the break, they're up a pile against a team that's short of receiving targets or much time to run patiently.

Kamara scored from two yards out in the fourth quarter but it was an underwhelming performance for the fantasy dynamo. But the Panthers killed themselves with red-zone failures.

Graham Gano, who had made 29 of 30 field goals during the regular season, missed a 25-yard chip shot after Carolina's opening possession, but then proceeded to knock through field goals of 27 yards, 39 yards, 58 yards and 29 yards for all the Panthers points before the fourth quarter.

"We just couldn't score". They have nobody but themselves to blame for the loss.

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Only minutes later, Newton was crushed by Saints lineman David Onyemata and after slowly getting to his feet, started towards the sideline only to go back down on the ground.

Newton threw for 349 yards, hitting Greg Olsen on a 14-yard touchdown with 12:47 remaining for the Panthers' first touchdown. And that's precisely what Brees did, throwing for 376 yards and two touchdowns.

The Panthers' once-promising season comes to an abrupt end, and now they face an offseason of uncertainty in which owner Jerry Richardson has said he will sell the franchise while he is investigated by the National Football League for alleged workplace misconduct.

The Panthers essentially dared Brees to beat them, taking a defensive approach that focused on stopping the New Orleans running game.

With two minutes left in the game, the Saints almost threw it away.

The referees ordered Newton into the sideline tent to be evaluated for a concussion, but a few minutes later, he bounced out with ice on his forehead and looked ready to return.

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Newton also said the injury was to his eye. Two plays later, rookie Alvin Kamara ran 2 yards for a touchdown and a 31-19 lead with 5:08 left.

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