Saints DB Jabari Greer deflected a fourth down pass by Panters QB Jimmy Clausen on 4th and 16 with 51 seconds left to secure a 16-14 New Orleans victory Sunday afternoon in the Superdome.
“We made just enough plays to win and that is the most important thing,” said Saints head coach Sean Payton. Although it wasn’t always perfect, it’s a good win.”
QB Drew Brees led the Saints offense by completing 33 of 38 attempts for 275 yards and a touchdown. WR Devery Henderson and TE Jeremy Shockey tied for a team-best six catches for 59 and 58, respectfully.
RBs Chris Ivory and Ladell Betts shared the load at running back with RBs Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas both inactive.
Ivory rushed for a team-best 67 yards on 12 attempts and Betts totaled 47 yards on 13 carries.
In his first action this season, K John Carney nailed all of three of his field goal attempts and extra point.
“I am glad to be back and happy to be part of this team any way I can,” said Carney. “It’s a great day for all us.”
DBs Greer, Malcolm Jenkins, Usama Young and DTs Remi Ayodele and Sedrick Ellis each had five tackles. Ellis, Jenkins and Young all had a sack.
New Orleans kicked off and following a 31-yard return by Carolina RB Mike Goodson, the Panthers would start off at their 37. Panthers QB Jimmy Clausen completed a screen pass to RB DeAngelo Williams for a 14-yard gain. However, the Panthers would then be forced to punt after they were unable to garner another first down, after a rush for no gain, a sack by Ellis for a loss of five yards and an incomplete pass. The QB takedown was the third of the season for Ellis.
New Orleans started out following the punt at the nine-yard line. RB Chris Ivory with the start at RB, carried for no gain on their first play. On the second play, Ladell Betts was inserted into the game and carried for a nine-yard gain up the middle. On third-and-one, TE Jimmy Graham gained three yards on an end around play on his first NFL touch. Brees then completed a nine-yard pass to WR Robert Meachem.
Betts than moved forward two yards for a first down at the 32. Meachem carried on an end around for a seven-yard gain and Betts got a third first down of the series on a screen pass.
On the next first down play, Ivory carried for four yards to the New Orleans 49-yard line followed by a Brees pass that was dropped by TE Jeremy Shockey. On third-and-six, Brees completed a pass to WR Devery Henderson for a 12-yard gain, moving New Orleans into Carolina territory at the 39-yard line.
Ivory then carried for a 12-yard gain. Betts then carried up the middle for a seven-yard gain. Ivory then moved forward on the next play for another first down up to the 14-yard line. Betts carried forward for a two-yard gain.
Brees found WR Lance Moore at the two-yard line, where he faced a jarring hit that caused him to fumble, where it was recovered by Carolina LB James Anderson in the end zone for a touchback.
With the ball back at their 20-yard line, Williams carried for five yards and then for a four-yard gain. On third and one, Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart was brought down by Ellis and S Pierson Prioleau for a one-yard loss.
Panthers P Jason Baker boomed a 50-yard punt and the Saints took possession back at the 24-yard line. Brees first round Henderson for a six-yard gain.
Followed by a 15-yard pass play to WR Marques Colston, Brees threw an incompletion. On second and ten, Anderson was called for holding Betts on a potential pass play, which gave New Orleans a first down at midfield. Brees then attempted to find Meachem inside the five yard line, on a play where Panthers CB Chris Gamble was called for pass interference, giving the Saints a first down at the Panthers four-yard line.
On first-and-goal, Betts was taken back for a three-yard loss. Following a three-yard gain on a pass, Brees threw a pass to Moore and he got into the end zone this time to put the Saints up 7-0
The Panthers would quickly tie the score though, on a five-play 72-yard drive, ending with a 55-yard touchdown pass from Clausen to Stewart to tie the score.
On the ensuing kickoff, WR Courtney Roby brought the Saints out to the 30-yard line to start their drive. Chris Ivory took the first carry of the drive for a three-yard gain.
Brees then completed a screen to Betts that he beat several defenders on for an eight-yard gain. Brees was then sacked by Panthers DE Charles Johnson for a five-yard loss. But he got the yardage back and then some on a ten-yard completion to Henderson. On third-and-five, Brees completed an 11-yard pass to Moore to put them in Carolina territory.
On first down, Brees completed a pass for a seven-yard gain to Colston where he ran out of bounds. Ivory then carried and saw the light of day on a 13-yard gain, but fumbled when it was forced by Panthers DB Richard Marshall and recovered by Anderson.
The Panthers would take the ball back at their 21-yard line. Williams carried on first down for a nine-yard gain. On second-and-one, Williams gained eight yards. Clausen’s pass on first down was batted down by Ayodele. On second-and-ten, Clausen took a big hit, but stuck in there for a six-yard completion to WR Steve Smith.
On third down, New Orleans came up big, when S Usama Young sacked Clausen to force them to punt. Moore picked up the punt at the New Orleans 13-yard line and returned ten yards to the 23. On first down, Brees found Colston for a seven-yard gain. He then made a six-yard completion to TE Jeremy Shockey in tight space for the first down. Following an incomplete pass on first down,
Brees completed a 12-yard pass to Henderson to bring New Orleans to their 47-yard line. A screen from Brees to Betts for an eight-yard gain, brought the Saints past midfield to the Carolina 44. On second down, a pass intended for Moore was incomplete. On third-and-two, Ivory carried for four yards out of bounds for a first down. On first down, a Brees throw intended for Shockey was dropped, but the two connected on a 20-yard pass play to move into the red zone on the next play.
On first down, Betts was stopped for a loss of one yard as the game came to the two minute warning. New Orleans came right back to Betts on the next run though and he gained seven yards. On third-and-four, Brees’ attempt for Henderson fell just short and K John Carney booted a 32-yard field goal to give the Saints the lead.
However the Saints would get the ball back with less than a minute left after forcing Carolina to a three-and out as Carolina was forced to punt. New Orleans took the ball back at their 36-yard line with 42 seconds left. With not much time, Brees got to work on completions to Shockey and Henderson to past midfield. However, the drive was stalled and the quarter ended on a sack.
The Saints took the ball out in the second half. On a third-and-one play at their 29-yard line, Ivory carried 14 yards for a New Orleans first down. The Saints had three straight incompletions and P Thomas Morstead was forced to punt for the first time today, with the ball going into the end zone for a touchback.
When Carolina got the ball back, Williams ran for a 12-yard gain, but Smith was called for holding. On a second and four play, Clausen completed a pass for a 21-yard gain to Panthers WR David Gettis. Stewart then carried for a seven-yard gain into New Orleans territory. On second-and-three, a Clausen pass was deflected by Ellis. On third down, a Clausen pass was deflected but picked up in the air by Panthers TE Jeff King for a seven yard gain to keep their drive alive at the 39. Williams then raced all the way into the end zone for a score.
After Betts failed to gain on first down at the 29, Brees found a diving Shockey for a 15-yard gain. On the first down play at the 44, G Jahri Evans was called for holding. On first and second down, the Saints then failed to connect on three straight pass plays and Morstead was forced to punt.
On the return, Carolina CB Captain Munnerlyn lost the ball on a hard hit by LS Jason Kyle, which was recovered by New Orleans, picked up by WR Courtney Roby at the Carolina 29-yard line. Betts then carried around the right side 11 yards for a first down to bring New Orleans into the red zone. Brees and Henderson then connected for a nine-yard gain. The Saints would fail to garner another first down though and following a delay of game penalty, Carney connected on a 32-yard kick to put the Saints within one.
After not trailing the entire contest, Carolina Panthers RB Williams had a 39-yard touchdown run nearly midway through the third quarter to give the visitors a 14-10 lead.
After Ladell Betts failed to gain on first down at the 29, Brees found a diving Shockey for a 15-yard gain. On the first down play at the 44, G Jahri Evans was called for holding. On first and second down, the Saints then failed to connect on three straight pass plays and Morstead was forced to punt. On the return, Carolina CB Captain Munnerlyn lost the ball on a hard hit by LS Jason Kyle, which was recovered by New Orleans, picked up by WR Courtney Roby at the Carolina 29-yard line. Betts then carried around the right side 11 yards for a first down to bring New Orleans into the red zone. Brees and Henderson then connected for a nine-yard gain. The Saints would fail to garner another first down though and following a delay of game penalty, Carney connected on a 32-yard kick to put the Saints within one.
Goodson brought the kickoff back to the Carolina 48, but Carolina T Jordan Gross was called for a false start to set Carolina back to first-and-15. Stewart had a four-yard gain and then Clausen threw a screen pass to Smith, good for a gain of five. But Smith was shaken up on the play and would be forced to leave the contest. At third and six, from the New Orleans 47-yard line and Clausen then threw an incompletion on third down. Lance Moore fielded the punt and took a fair catch at the 18-yard line.
Starting the drive, Brees threw a seven-yard completion to Moore. Henderson then took an end around for a two-yard loss. On third and five, Brees threw up the middle to Colston, but the ball was broken up by Marshall. Morstead booted a 53-yard punt that was returned six yards, giving Carolina the ball at their 30.
On first down for Carolina, Williams gained five yards. A pass by Clausen to LSU product Brandon Lafell garnered only one yard. On third and four, Clausen threw a slant pass to Carolina TE Dante Rosario for a ten-yard gain and the first down as time expired on the third quarter.
New Orleans would force Carolina on three straight downs and New Orleans would get the ball back at their seven-yard line where Ivory started with a two-yard rush. Betts then carried six yards to the 15. On third-and-two, Brees completed a throw to TE David Thomas for a six-yard gain. Ivory then gained nine-yards on a run. Ivory then pushed the pile for a one-yard gain for a first down at their 31-yard line.
Brees then completed a pass to Thomas for about ten yards, and he garnered six more yards. Betts then carried for a nine-yard gain and then rushed on the second down for four yards to move up to the Carolina 40-yard line. Thomas had a diving 11-yard grab to move up to the 29. The Saints drove to the seven yardline where Carney a 25-yard field goal to give the Saints the lead for good.
On Carolina’s final drive, Clausen drove to the 36 yardline when the Saints defense took over. Young tackled Wiliams for a four-yard loss followed by a four-yard sack by Jenkins before Greer’s game winning pass deflection.