By the Numbers: Panthers vs. Saints in Week 7

A look inside the numbers of the New Orleans Saints victory over the Carolina Panthers in Week 7 of the NFL.
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New Orleans defeated Carolina 27-24 on Sunday afternoon at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in front of 3,000 fans.  The Saints records are now 4-2 and 1/2 game behind the Tampa Bay Bucs in the NFC South.

0:  SAINTS DID NOT PUNT!

New Orleans Saints Punter Thomas Morstead joked with the media postgame he was sore after the team's victory over the Panthers. The 2012 Pro-Bowl selection spent most of the game watching from the sideline as none of the Saints 7 offensive drives ended in a punt.

Morstead did trot onto the field on special teams, serving as the placekicking holder. The 34-year old's efforts helped Wil Lutz continue his perfect start to the season, connecting on 2 field goals and 3 extra points. Lutz is now 11/11 on field goals in 2020 and 21/21 on extra points.

37 & 49: Saints Defense allowed 37 rushing yards & extended streak to 49

The Saints pass defense has caused a few more gray hairs to Dennis Allen than he may want to admit, but the run defense has continued to be one of the best in the NFL. Following Sunday's victory, the Saints defense ranks 4th in the league against the run and extended their consecutive games streak to 49 without surrendering 100-yards to a rusher.

Against the depleted Panthers offensive backfield, the Saints held Mike Davis in check - allowing him to gain only 12 yards on 7 carries.  As a team, Carolina only ran the ball 14 times for 37 yards for an average of 2.6 yards/carry.  The Saints secondary continues to be the team's Achilles heel.  If there is a bright spot on the defense, it is the defensive line and their great play against the run.  

55: Deonte Harris is Saints Players #55 to catch a Brees TD Pass 

The Saints entered Sunday's action without All-Pro WR Michael Thomas for the 5th consecutive game and WR Emmanuel Sanders for the first time this season because of a positive COVID-19 test on Thursday. The banged-up receiving corps was down to Tre'Quan Smith and two undrafted rookies in Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris before practice squad call ups.

Callaway had an outstanding game, hauling in 8 receptions (4 that went for first downs) for 75 yards. The only thing that he did not do was catch a touchdown pass for the first time in his young NFL career. However, Deonte Harris did just that. The 5-6 wide-out scored with 2 seconds remaining in the first half, capping off an 8 play, 75-yard drive that gave the Saints the lead going into the break.

The touchdown was Harris' first receiving TD of his career, and he became the 71st different player (55th New Orleans Saint) to catch a TD pass from QB Drew Brees.  

85.7: The Saints converted 85.7% of 3rd Downs

New Orleans was unstoppable on third-down Sunday. The statistics back up the historic feat of the offense. The Saints produced one of the greatest single-games in terms of a third-down conversion rate.   

The NFL started recording third-down conversion data in 1991. Only two teams converted 85% or higher on third downs with a minimum of 8 attempts in a single game. Those teams are the 2008 New Orleans Saints and 2020 New Orleans Saints. Both are Sean Payton, and Drew Brees led offenses.

Note that both failed third-down conversions by the Saints occurred on 3rd and 13+ yards. While the Saints could not pick up the first downs, the next play resulted in Wil Lutz's field goals.

7,000: Drew Brees becomes the first NFL QB to complete 7,000 passes 

What more is there to say about Drew Brees? Possibly no other quarterback in NFL history has etched their name into the record books than # 9 - and he did so again on Sunday. With a completion to Marquez Callaway in the first quarter, Brees became the first QB in NFL history to complete 7,000 career passes. He set the record for most attempts in a career earlier this year when he eclipsed Hall of Famer and three-time NFL MVP Brett Favre.

The record comes as just another feather in the cap of Brees' legendary career. Brees also moved into second place in game-winning drives (52) with Sunday's victory trailing only Peyton Manning (54). The Saints 15-year signal-caller concluded the win over Carolina by completing 29/36 passes for 287 yards, one rushing, and two passing touchdowns.

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