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  • It's almost time for kickoff at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the game between the Carolina Panthers (5-5) and the Atlanta Falcons (8-2). This will be the 50th meeting between the teams, with Carolina holding a slim 25-24 advantage. But the series has been lopsided lately, with New Orleans winning five of the last six meetings -- though the Panthers won the last game, 33-14, during the 2018 regular-season finale. Carolina was dominant before that, taking six of the previous eight match-ups.
  • The Saints can go a long way toward wrapping up their third straight NFC South title today with a win. 
NFC South Standings

NFC South Standings

  • Saints get ball first and proceed to drive for a touchdown on seven plays. Murray scored from 26 yards out. New Orleans leads 7-0 with 10:39 remaining in first quarter.
  • That was the first time this season that New Orleans has scored a touchdown on its opening drive. Had a pair of field goals before that for six points on opening drives, the fourth-fewest in the NFL.
  • New Orleans converted two third downs on that drive, most notably at third-and-12.
  • Kyle Allen's first pass was intended for Curtis Samuel on 3rd and 9, but was overthrown. Allen was 31-50 for 325 yards, four interceptions and a 47.5 passer rating during last week's 29-3 loss to Atlanta. He hasn't had a passer rating above 85 since Week 6. Panthers are punting.
  • Allen didn't have much time on that possession and that's a common theme lately. He's been sacked 18 times over the past four games, including five times by the Falcons. Could get really rough today for Carolina's offensive line -- the Saints are 12th in quarterback pressures and their 27 sacks are tied for 12th.
  • Drew Brees hits Cook for 42 yards, but it's called back because of pass interference. Saints coach Sean Payton challenges.
  • Even with 42-yard completion to Cook on third down called back, Brees has still completed all five official attempts for 45 yards.
  • Make that 6 for 6 after hitting Thomas on left side for 8 yards on 3rd and 14.
  • Saints line up to punt, called for delay, punt again -- and the Panthers muff the punt. But officials say it hit a Saints player, so here comes another review.
  • The Superdome ... is ... loud.
  • Saints ball at Carolina 27.
  • Brees incomplete to Cook, first miss today. Rebounds to hit Smith for 13-yard touchdown. Brees 8-9 for 71 yards. 
  • That scoring play four plays, 27 yards, 90 seconds of game clock used.
  • We have a Greg Olsen sighting, 13-yard catch and Carolina's first 1st down today.
  • Panthers putting together a nice drive. Short passing, mid-range passing, misdirection. First and 10 midfield.
  • Allen to Moore from 51 yards for a touchdown. Four plays, 75 yards, 2:04 of game time. Slye missed his the PAT. 14-6 Saints, 3:08 left first quarter.
  • Really nice job by the offensive line on that drive. Allen had ample time to operate within the pocket. 
  • Saints moving the ball how they want, when they want. Quarter ends with New Orleans already 1st and 10 from the Carolina 31.
  • Brees 12-13 for 122 yards with a TD and a 131.4 rating in the first quarter. And nine of New Orleans' 19 plays have produced a first down.
  • Dontari Poe is down. Now getting up and walking off with help.
  • Bruce Irvin with the sack on 3rd down. Lutz hits 41-yard field goal. Saints lead 17-6, 13:35 remaining in first half. Drive was 9 plays, 52 yards, 4:34 of game time.
  • Poe taken to locker room on a cart.
  • Two short throws to McCaffrey, two first downs. Carolina is at its 46.
  • Allen escapes pocket to pick up nine yards. Another first down at Saints 36.
  • Drive stalls, Slye boots 41-yard field goal. Drive was 10 plays, 52 yards, 5:25. Saints leads 17-9, 8:13 left in the half.
  • Allen 6-9, 91 yards with a TD and 136.8 rating. Biggest stat? Hasn't been sacked.
  • Fourth and one for New Orleans. Saints are going to go for it their own 34.
  • Murray gets 3 yards, but Saints called for holding. New Orleans punting. Carolina ball at its 32.
  • Allen still in rhythm, hits Samuel for 9 out of the gate.
  • Edwards gets to Allen for a sack. Allen fumbles, but Van Roten recovers.
  • Another sack, this one by Davis, but then a personal foul penalty on Cam Jordan. First down Carolina. 
  • Van Roten banged up. Daryl Williams in at left guard.
  • Running game gets 9, 7 and 3. 
  • Looks like Jordan was trying to punch the ball loose. Superdome crowd lost its mind on the penalty, regardless.
  • Two-minute warning. Crazy turnaround in second quarter: the Panthers have seven first downs while the Saints have yet to record one. Also, New Orleans has five total yards this quarter.
  • Allen to McCaffrey slipping across middle for first third-down conversion today. Panthers at the New Orleans' 37. There's 1:43 left in the half.
  • Allen to McCaffrey, Allen to Moore, Allen to McCaffrey. Carolina has 2nd and 2 at New Orleans' 12.
  • Poe and Van Routen not coming back.
  • Allen sacked for 2-yard loss.
  • Allen to McCaffrey with swing pass on left side for 9-yard touchdown that's being reviewed.
  • McCaffrey just short. Panthers call timeout with two seconds left. Third and goal inside the New Orleans' 1-yard line.
  • Allen to McCaffrey for touchdown.
  • Allen can't hit Moore with the 2-point conversion. 17-15 New Orleans at the half. Drive was 17 plays, 68 yards, 6:30 of game clock. Moore hurt his arm on the play.

HALFTIME Saints 17, Panthers 15

Halftime analysis

  • After coming out lethargic, Carolina offense shook things up in the second quarter. Lots of short-to-intermediate passes and misdirection. It all added up to give Allen more time, even though the Saints did get to him three times. 
  • The Saints ran six plays in the second quarter. Part of that was Carolina's defense tightening up, but the majority of it was the Panthers putting together steady offensive drives.
  • Carolina's run game has slowly developed. The Panthers have 65 yards at the half and need to stick with it if for no other reason than to keep the Saints honest. 
  • Kyle Allen looks like the 4-0 Kyle Allen. He's 14 of 18 for 138 yards and two touchdowns while also escaping once for a 9-yard run.
  • He's still leaning on McCaffrey maybe too much, though it's hard not to try to put it into his hands. McCaffrey has caught all eight of his targets for 46 yards. He also has eight carries for 31 yards. He accounted for eight first downs in the second quarter alone -- New Orleans had none as a team.
  • The Saints have shot themselves in the foot repeatedly. They've been flagged five times for 44 yards, including a pair of penalties that gave Carolina first downs.


  • Panthers start three and out. Punts.
  • Another fast start for the Saints. Five plays, 62 yards, 2:34 on their first drive of the second half. Brees his Cook for a 20-yard touchdown. They lead 24-15 with 11:18 remaining in the third quarter.
  • McCaffrey 23-yard catch to start drive.
  • A penalty shoehorned in a stretch of five straight Allen incompletions. Slye good from 52-yards. Saints lead 24-18, 8:41 left in the third quarter.
  • Alvin Kamara had 1 total yard in the first half. He has 47 this drive.
  • Brees to Thomas in the back of the end zone for 3-yard touchdown.
  • Meanwhile ...
  • Allen to Moore for 52 yards. First down at the New Orleans 20. Second play today for at least 50 yards by Panthers.
  • McCaffrey off right tackle for 4-yard touchdown. Drive was seven plays for 71 yards, 3:41 of game time. Slye misses another PAT. Saints lead 31-24.


Saints 31, Panthers 24

  • Boston picks off Brees at the 50. Panthers ball, 12:38 left to play. First takeaway since Week 9 for Carolina.
  • McCaffrey for 7, the Samuel with another reverse for 13. Running the ball and misdirection ...
  • Allen escapes rush, tosses a ball to Samuel in the end zone with three Saints around him. Ball bounces off of Marcus Williams but pass interference called. Panthers have first and goal from the Saints' 1.
  • Allen throws first-down pass away.
  • Armah stuffed up the middle.
  • McCaffrey stuffed up the middle.
  • Allen to Moore for 2-yard touchdown. Slye PAT. 31-31 with 9:23 remaining. DJ Moore has 6 receptions, 126 yards and 2 TDs.
  • Brees throws a stat to Hill on the right but he's about a foot short. Saints going for it on fourth down, 6:58 to play.
  • Eric Reid stuffs Kamara for a loss of two. Holding penalty declined, 1st and 10 Carolina at New Orleans 43.
  • Good use of run and pass. Nine plays and Carolina is 3rd and 3 from New Orleans' 5 with 2:30 remaining. Allen incomplete to Wright.
  • Riverboat Ron Rivera throws challenge flag looking for pass interference. And it's reversed. First down.
  • McCaffrey stuffed for 1 at the New Orleans 4. Timeout Saints.
  • Incomplete pass on 2nd and goal.
  • Allen sacked by Marcus Davenport for 6-yard loss. Two-minute warning.
  • Slye misses a 28-yard field goal. Saints take over at their 20, 1:56 remaining.
  • Saints going no-huddle with a timeout left.
  • Brees hits Kamara with four straight, but last one was a four-yard loss after Elliott tackles him as soon as he catches it. Saints burn timeout. There's 43 second left, Saints at their 40.
  • Brees to Thomas for 24. Saints at the Carolina 40.
  • Brees to Kamara for 16. At the Panthers' 24, 19 seconds left.
  • Kamara runs for 9 to Carolina 15. Brees spikes the ball. Carolina calls timeout.
  • Will Lutz hits a 33-yard field goal. Capped 11-play, 65 yard drive that took 1:56. Saints win 34-31.


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