By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
The Saints finish the 2019 regular season with a 42-10 blowout win over the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, NC. on Sunday. New Orleans scored 35 unanswered points in the first half of the contest, as they dominated the dismal Panthers, who have dropped their last 8 games to finish the season at 5-11.
The Saints wasted no time putting away the Panthers, taking the ball to start the game and with ease went 75 yards in eight plays, ending with Alvin Kamara scoring on a 15 yard run. Both teams would trade punts over the next three possessions. With 7:22 left in the quarter, New Orleans kicked it back in gear. After driving 81 yards in 11 plays, Alvin Kamara would find the end zone again from a yard out to increase the Saints lead to 14-0 to end the quarter.
The Saints' dominance continued through the second quarter. With 12:04 to go in the first half, Carolina had it first & ten at their own 14 yard line. AJ Klein would intercept a Will Grier pass and return it into the end zone. 21-0.. The Panthers would quickly go three & out, and punt. Brees would then drive the Saints 65 yards in 9 plays, throwing a one yard touchdown pass to Tre'Quan Smith. 28-0 with 6:27 to go. Carolina continued to struggle, going three & out again, giving the ball right back to Brees & company. Four plays later Jared Cook would haul in a 21 yard touchdown strike from #9. 35-0. Carolina would finally put points on the board, as Joey Slye kicked a 23 yard field goal, ending the first half with a 35-3 score.
The second started slow, with both teams trading punts. Finally, at the 8:16 mark, the Saints would start a 8 play, 75 yard touchdown drive. The score came on third and seven from the Panthers' 45 yard line. Carolina would leave Taysom Hill wide open and Brees would find him for a 42-3 lead. Chistian McCaffrey would score on a one yard touchdown to end the third quarter with New Orleans up 42-10.
Sean Payton would rest most of the Saints starters for the rest of the contest. Carolina would threaten to score once more late in the game, but Janoris Jenkins would intercept Kyle Allen's pass in the end zone to end the contest. Drew Brees finished the game, 19/30, 253 yards passing, three touchdowns. Alvin Kamara found the end zone twice, while Latavius Murray lead the team in rushing with 61 yards on 17 carries. Tre'Quan Smith was today's leading receiver with 56 yards on 5 grabs and a score. Defensively, AJ Klein had a big game against his former team, with 6 tackles, and returning a interception for a score. The defense collected three turnovers, two sacks, and held Carolina to only 41 yards on the ground.
The Saints (13-3), now need to wait for the results of the Seattle vs. San Francisco game Sunday night to know their playoff seeding situation. If the 49ers win, the Saints will host Minnesota next week. A Seattle victory, would give the Saints the #2 seed and a first round bye. Either way, the New Orleans Saints are the team to watch in the NFC playoffs, as they enter the post season playing as well as anyone in the NFL.