Saints skid continues with loss in Carolina

Mark Keplinger, Sports Editor

saints panthers
Chris Olave seemed to be the only bright spot for the Saints on an otherwise lackluster display. (Matthew Tate)

The Carolina Panthers have snapped their nine game losing streak with a 22-14 win over the New Orleans Saints. In a game where not a lot went right for the visitors, the Panthers did just enough to see off their NFC South rivals.

Both offenses had completely different strategies for the game. The Panthers limited quarterback Baker Mayfield, who went 12/25 for just 170 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Carolina’s superstar running back Christian McCaffrey picked up 108 yards rushing.

Saints quarterback Jameis Winston, on the other hand, threw the ball 41 times with 25 completions for 353 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Rookie wideout Chris Olave had a breakout game with 147 yards receiving with nine catches. However, the Saints rushing attack only combined for 84 yards. 

The Panthers struck first when they returned a fumble for a touchdown after Alvin Kamara was stripped of the ball late in the first quarter. After a Saints three-and-out, the Panthers running attack drove down the field which set up a 48-yard Eddy Piniero field goal. 

Neither offense did much in the second quarter, although Piniero nailed another 48-yard field goal with less than two minutes to go. Winston then drove the team down the field, thanks in large part to a 49-yard strike to Olave. However, Wil Lutz’s 30-yard field goal attempt was blocked, giving the Panthers a 13-0 half time lead. 

Lutz began the second half with a missed 48-yard field goal, but neither team could find a rhythm in the third quarter. Winston began the fourth quarter by driving the team 89 yards, capped off by a 5-yard touchdown run by Mark Ingram II. 

It took the Panthers two plays to answer, when Laviska Shenault took a screen pass 67 yards for a touchdown. With the failed two point conversion, the hosts led 19-7. In the ensuing Saints possession, Winston’s pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage and was intercepted.

Following the pick, Carolina added another field goal courtesy of Piniero. At the end of the fourth quarter, Winston threw his second touchdown of the day from four yards out. Winston threw into triple coverage, however, a spectacular one handed grab by Marquez Callaway gave the Saints some life, only down 22-14.

The Saints would get the ball back inside their own five yard line with less than 20 seconds remaining. Winston’s Hail Mary attempt to midfield was picked off, ending the game.

After two lackluster offensive displays, first year head coach Dennis Allen needs to find some way to spark his offense. Winston is playing through injury, although he is currently not planning to take a game off to rest.

The Saints will play the Minnesota Vikings at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London next. The Vikings are coming off a comeback victory over the Detroit Lions.

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