New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers

NO
34
CAR
13
FINAL
1234T
NO 71071034
CAR 337013

Game Information
Location: Bank of America Stadium Charlotte, North Carolina
Attendance: 73,775

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Drew Brees did not want to head across the Atlantic Ocean three games behind the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers in the NFC South.

The veteran quarterback made sure the Saints could rest a little easier on their eight-hour flight to London for next week's game against the Miami Dolphins.

Brees shredded the league's top-ranked defense, throwing for 220 yards and three touchdowns as the Saints beat the previously undefeated Panthers 34-13 on Sunday for their first win of the season.

Brees led six scoring drives and threw TD passes to Michael Thomas, Brandon Coleman and ex-Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. Rookie Alvin Kamara put the game away with a 25-yard TD run with 4:42 left.

Carolina had only allowed six points in its previous two games.

"We know they're a contender and that defense was one of the best in the league," Brees said. "We knew we needed to be efficient today - and we were."

Brees completed 22 of 29 passes. The Saints (1-2) piled up 149 yards rushing as part of a balanced attack and didn't turn the ball over.

The Saints' defense, which came in ranked 32nd in the league, intercepted Cam Newton three times and sacked him four times before he was replaced late in the fourth quarter. Many of Newton's throws were either too hard or high as the seventh-year quarterback continued to struggle with his rhythm following offseason shoulder surgery.

"We showed that we can be a great defense," said Saints linebacker A.J. Klein. "This is momentum for London next week. We just need to keep this thing rolling."

Newton said he was ready to play despite not throwing much in practice last week while resting his shoulder. But he left the stadium frustrated with what he called "a lackluster performance."

"I feel like if I play better the outcome is different," Newton said. "The onus is on me."

The Panthers (2-1), who were already without injured Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen, lost wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the first quarter to a knee injury; his leg got bent back awkwardly after being dragged down from behind. Benjamin tore his ACL in the same knee two years ago. Coach Ron Rivera offered no indication on the seriousness of the injury, saying Benjamin will be re-evaluated by doctors on Monday.

Carolina's only real offense was essentially limited to rookie running back Christian McCaffrey, who had 101 yards receiving on nine catches.

"We can't keep letting teams off the hook by having a long drive and getting in the red zone and coming away with three points," Newton said.

NO DOUBTING THOMAS: Carolina had no answer early on for Thomas, who caught five passes for 50 yards and a touchdown on the Saints' opening drive. Thomas finished with 87 yards receiving on seven catches. "We came out with more intensity and a sense of urgency," Thomas said. "We attacked them; we did not let them attack us."

GINN'S REVENGE

The Saints led 17-6 when Ginn beat cornerback James Bradberry down the middle of the field for a 40-yard touchdown reception to break it open. It was the same type of big play Ginn provided for the Panthers in previous seasons. The Panthers didn't re-sign Ginn after he became a free agent earlier this offseason. "It felt great," Ginn said. "It meant a lot to me. My teammates were behind me."

QB COMPARISON

Brees has thrown for 1,252 yards and 12 touchdowns with three interceptions in his last four games against the Panthers. Newton entered the game with 19 career touchdown passes and seven interceptions against the Saints. This marked the first time he's ever thrown more than one interception in a game against New Orleans.

GANO STAYS PERFECT: Panthers kicker Graham Gano entered training camp in a battle for his job, but the veteran added two more field goals on Sunday and is 8 for 8 on the season.

DICKSON A NONFACTOR: Ed Dickson replaced Olsen at tight end for the Panthers, but was a nonfactor in the passing game. Instead, most of Newton's underneath passes went to McCaffrey. Olsen's streak of playing in 160 straight games came to an end due to a broken foot.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: At least a dozen Saints players sat on the bench for the national anthem. None of the Panthers players on the sideline sat or kneeled in protest.

INJURIES

Saints: DT David Perry, added to the 53-man roster this week, left with a left leg injury in the first half.

Panthers: In addition to Benjamin, LB Thomas Davis left briefly with a rib injury, but did return.

UP NEXT

Saints: They head across the ocean to face the Miami Dolphins in London next Sunday.

Panthers: They travel to New England next Sunday.

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1st Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Saints Panthers
06:19 Graham Gano 32 yd FG 0 3
00:22 Michael Thomas 5 yd pass from Drew Brees (Wil Lutz kick) 7 3

2nd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Saints Panthers
10:46 Graham Gano 48 yd FG 7 6
05:42 Brandon Coleman 11 yd pass from Drew Brees (Wil Lutz kick) 14 6
00:00 Wil Lutz 33 yd FG 17 6

3rd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Saints Panthers
11:09 Ted Ginn Jr. 40 yd pass from Drew Brees (Wil Lutz kick) 24 6
01:18 Cam Newton 3 yd run (Graham Gano kick) 24 13

4th Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Saints Panthers
11:57 Wil Lutz 50 yd FG 27 13
04:42 Alvin Kamara 25 yd run (Wil Lutz kick) 34 13

Team Stats
  New Orleans Carolina
1st Downs 21 18
Total Yards 362 288
Passing 213 156
Passing Completions/Attempts 22-29 19-33
Yards/Pass 7.1 4.2
Rushing 149 132
Rushing Attempts 27 22
Yards/Rush 5.5 6.0
Turnovers 0 3
Fumbles Lost 0 0
Interceptions Thrown 0 3
Possession 31:09 28:51

New Orleans Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Drew Brees 22 29 220 7.6 3 0

Carolina Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Cam Newton 17 26 167 6.4 0 3
Derek Anderson 2 7 17 2.4 0 0

New Orleans Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Mark Ingram 14 56 4.0 0 15
Alvin Kamara 2 37 18.5 1 25
Adrian Peterson 9 33 3.7 0 11
Ted Ginn Jr. 1 15 15.0 0 15
Tommylee Lewis 1 8 8.0 0 8

Carolina Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Jonathan Stewart 12 57 4.8 0 17
Curtis Samuel 1 31 31.0 0 31
Christian McCaffrey 4 16 4.0 0 7
Cam Newton 3 16 5.3 1 10
Fozzy Whittaker 2 12 6.0 0 8

New Orleans Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Michael Thomas 7 87 12.4 1 26
Ted Ginn Jr. 2 44 22.0 1 40
Mark Ingram 2 30 15.0 0 25
Coby Fleener 1 21 21.0 0 21
Tommylee Lewis 3 15 5.0 0 13
Brandon Coleman 1 11 11.0 1 11
Alvin Kamara 3 5 1.7 0 7
Adrian Peterson 2 4 2.0 0 3
Josh Hill 1 3 3.0 0 3
Michael Hoomanawanui 0 0 0.0 0

Carolina Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Christian McCaffrey 9 101 11.2 0 37
Devin Funchess 4 58 14.5 0 21
Kelvin Benjamin 2 8 4.0 0 4
Ed Dickson 1 8 8.0 0 8
Curtis Samuel 2 5 2.5 0 7
Jonathan Stewart 1 4 4.0 0 4
Damiere Byrd 0 0 0.0 0
Russell Shepard 0 0 0.0 0

New Orleans Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Ken Crawley 7 1 0 0
Alex Anzalone 4 3 0 0
Kenny Vaccaro 4 2 0 0
Alex Okafor 3 2 1 10
Cameron Jordan 3 4 1 6
Vonn Bell 2 2 0 0
A.J. Klein 2 4 0 0
Manti Te'o 2 3 0 0
P.J. Williams 2 1 0 0
Trey Hendrickson 1 1 1 10
Hau'oli Kikaha 1 0 1 2
Tyeler Davison 1 0 0 0
Chris Banjo 0 0 0 0
De'Vante Harris 0 0 0 0
David Onyemata 0 2 0 0
David Parry 0 1 0 0
Craig Robertson 0 0 0 0
Marcus Williams 0 2 0 0

Carolina Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Kurt Coleman 6 3 0 0
Thomas Davis 5 2 0 0
Shaq Thompson 5 2 0 0
Luke Kuechly 4 4 0 0
Daryl Worley 4 3 0 0
James Bradberry 3 1 0 0
Mario Addison 2 4 1 7
Mike Adams 1 2 0 0
Captain Munnerlyn 1 2 0 0
Kawann Short 1 1 0 0
Vernon Butler 0 1 0 0
Damiere Byrd 0 0 0 0
Ed Dickson 0 0 0 0
Charles Johnson 0 2 0 0
Kyle Love 0 0 0 0
David Mayo 0 1 0 0
Curtis Samuel 0 0 0 0
Trai Turner 0 0 0 0

New Orleans Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Kenny Vaccaro 1 30 0
P.J. Williams 1 7 0
Marcus Williams 1 0 0

Carolina Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
No interceptions.

New Orleans Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
No kick return stats.

Carolina Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Curtis Samuel 1 30 30.0 0 30

New Orleans Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Ted Ginn Jr. 1 12 12.0 0 12

Carolina Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Damiere Byrd 1 9 9.0 0 9
Christian McCaffrey 1 3 3.0 0 3

New Orleans Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Wil Lutz 2 3 67.0 50

Carolina Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Graham Gano 2 2 100.0 48

New Orleans Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Thomas Morstead 3 150 59

Carolina Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Michael Palardy 3 129 56