Former Buckeyes propel Saints to Wild Card victory over Panthers
Former Buckeyes propel Saints to Wild Card victory over Panthers
Video of Dancing Sean Payton from Shamar Allen's Instagram page
12 January, 2018, 20:28
The New Orleans Saints have invested multiple draft picks and salary cap space in free agency on former Ohio State Buckeyes, and those investments paid dividends in their 31-26 win over the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday night.
Now, the degree of difficulty amps up significantly with a return trip to Minnesota in next Sunday's divisional round to face the 13-3 Minnesota Vikings.
So, that's the recipe for success, but it's obviously much easier said than done, as the Panthers have found out twice this season. Should the Saints and Falcons win next weekend, the NFC Championship Game would be right back here. With the top-seed Eagles missing Carson Wentz and an underdog to the sixth-seeded Falcons next Saturday, the Saints-Vikings victor would host the NFC championship game if the Falcons win. "I mean, I don't know", he said.
"Then let's go for it", Brees said.
The Saints caught another break from the refs before the drive even started when Mike Adams' fourth-down interception wasn't reviewed.
Newton completed passes for 17 yards to receiver Devin Funchess and 21 yards to receiver Kaelin Clay that helped put the Panthers at the Saints' 26-yard line with 58 seconds to play.
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers had a first down at the New Orleans 21 with 41 seconds left and a chance for a winning touchdown that seemed improbable when they trailed by more than two touchdowns late in the first half. The Panthers made three field goals - and missed one. After an incompletion in the end zone, Vonn Bell sacked Newton with six seconds left. "I'm just happy that I could get the opportunity to play in the playoffs". The Saints also got scoring runs of 1 yard by Zach Line and 2 yards by rookie running back Alvin Kamara.
Carolina traveled 63 yards using 13 plays that got the team down to New Orleans' 7-yard line, but the Panthers were unable to cash in.
Jordan called the Saints' red-zone stops "huge".
Graham Gano missing a 25-yard field goal in the first half.
"It's the last step before you go out on your own in practice", Connor said. "They took him in there as a precautionary just to make sure, but when he was sitting on the ground, they were trying to wipe whatever when he got popped". An incompletion or sack would have put Cam Newton and Co.in prime position to pull off a shocking comeback.
"Our quarterback was out of the pocket", he said. Olsen finished with eight catches for 107 yards and the touchdown.
Newton had a superb performance in which he threw for 349 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 37 yards. Eleven time Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees has had a stellar season, throwing for over 4300 yards with 23 touchdowns and just 8 interceptions, and his 72 percent completion percentage was the highest in National Football League history.
The Panthers turned in a highly successful 11-5 season this year to tie with the New Orleans Saints for the lead in the NFC South.
Saints: Starting left guard Andrus Peat was carted off the field with a left shin injury. Gano had made 29-of-30 kicks before that miss, and his only failed attempt had come from 55 yards out.
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