Panthers unable to convert pivotal plays in playoff loss

Cam Newton

The Saints are celebrating today after defeating the Carolina Panthers last night for the third time this season, securing their spot in the NFC Divisional Playoff Game.

Mostly forgotten is the way New Orleans drove to Minnesota's 19-yard line, 2-yard line (twice) and 6-yard line before settling for field goals.

Once again Brees became the straw the stirs the drink in New Orleans, making throw after throw in huge spots, finishing 23-33 for 376 yards and two touchdowns in the Saints' 31-26 win over the Panthers. It would be more believable if we didn't have a couple of incidents from this season to go on.

That's when Johnson said he told Payton "the best receiver in college football is Michael Thomas".

And yet Drew Brees was not about to gloat. "And to see them the last time was more of a blessing, to be able to go out and send them home". The Panthers and Saints each had a number of advantages in major statistical categories.

This isn't the first time the Panthers have been investigated for how it has handled the protocol.

The first part of the plan worked incredibly well. Mark Ingram added 9 carries for 22 yards, while Zach Line chipped in a rushing score of his own in the win.

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Democrats need 24 seats nationwide to take Congress and restore the Speaker's gavel to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who said Tuesday that he would not seek a 14th term.

C Special teams: Graham Gano, the NFL's most accurate FG kicker in the regular season, missed a 25-yarder in the first quarter.

That led us to Sunday's game.

After connecting on just one of his first four passes, Brees completed nine consecutive throws.

Brees also has 329 career completions in the postseason, 10th in league history. And yes, that made it all the more special. "I thought maybe somebody stuck his finger in my eye".

END ZONE PROTECTION: While the Saints defense gave up 413 net yards, their ability to keep Carolina out of the end zone was crucial.

On how the momentum changed after the 80-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr.

The Saints will next face the Vikings this weekend in Minneapolis.

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After taking a hard fourth-quarter sack Sunday, Newton was helped to his feet but dropped to turf before reaching the sideline.

"I think the vision for each player was clear", said Payton, who pointed out that New Orleans had to spend wisely because of salary-cap constraints. "(There were) a lot of loaded fronts, defensively.

Most sports fans are now holding on, waiting for February 4 when the 52 Super Bowl will be played.

The spotters in the booth, the neurotrauma consultants, the physicians on the sidelines - all of them should come from an independent group with full, unassailable authority to make decisions on player health and safety. "They use him as a receiver some, he catches the ball some on screens". However, Christian McCaffery's 56-yard touchdown catch occurred less than a minute later.

'I just have to be better. "I'm not going to take the coward way and point somebody else out". You still have to have a level of patience to take advantage of them when they do come around.

"I guess, in a way, yeah, you get an opportunity (for revenge), but we've got to treat it like any other game".

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