Saints Defeat Panthers 34-13

Carolina had only allowed six points in its previous two games

Ed Jenson
September 24, 2017 - 8:53 pm
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Drew Brees shredded the league's top-ranked defense, throwing for 220 yards and three touchdowns as the New Orleans Saints defeated the previously unbeaten Carolina Panthers 34-13 on Sunday.

Brees led six scoring drives and threw TD passes to Michael Thomas, Brandon Coleman and ex-Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. as the Saints avoided an 0-3 start. Rookie Alvin Kamara put the game away with a 25-yard TD run with 4:42 left.

Carolina had only allowed six points in its previous two games.

The Saints' defense, which came in ranked 32nd in the league, intercepted Cam Newton three times and sacked him four times before he was replaced late in the fourth quarter. Many of Newton's throws were either too hard or high as the seventh-year quarterback continued to struggle with his rhythm following offseason shoulder surgery.

The Panthers, who were already without injured Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen, lost wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the first quarter to a knee injury; his leg got bent back awkwardly after being dragged down from behind. Carolina's only real offense came from rookie running back Christian McCaffrey, who had 101 yards receiving on nine catches.

The Saints led 17-6 when Ginn beat cornerback James Bradberry down the middle of the field for a 40-yard touchdown reception to break it open. It was the same type of big play Ginn provided for the Panthers in previous seasons.

Brees was sharp all day, completing 22 of 29 passes.

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