NFL Game Summary - New Orleans at Carolina|
(Sunday, January 3rd)
Final Score: Carolina 23, New Orleans 10
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Jonathan Stewart finished with 125 yards and
a touchdown on 16 carries as Carolina downed New Orleans, 23-10, in the
season finale for both teams from Bank of America Stadium.
Matt Moore was 14-of-23 for 162 yards and threw for a score for the Panthers
(8-8), who won three in a row to end the season despite a slew of injuries to
Dwayne Jarrett added a TD reception and 68 yards on five receptions while
Muhsin Muhammad posted seven catches for 85 yards.
"We just got better as a football team," said Panthers head coach John Fox of
his club's late-season resurgence. "We ran the ball well, which is what we've
done all season long. We didn't get the passing game down until later. Still,
it was a nice tribute for the guys to come out at home and play like they
Mark Brunell threw for just 102 yards and an interception on 15-of-29 passing
for the Saints (13-3), who are the top seed in the NFC but finished the
year with three consecutive losses.
Lynell Hamilton rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown, also racking up three
receptions for 38 yards in defeat for New Orleans, which sat quarterback Drew
Brees, running back Pierre Thomas, safety Darren Sharper and tight end David
"We're comfortable in that it's the right thing to do," said Saints head coach
Sean Payton on resting his key players in advance of the playoffs. "We worked
hard to get ourselves in this position. Now it's our job to get mentally ready
for what's ahead."
Carolina seized momentum early, as Stewart rumbled 67 yards to the end zone on
the second play from scrimmage for a 7-0 Panthers edge.
New Orleans appeared to have tied the game later in the first quarter when
Anthony Hargrove chased down Moore, caused him to slip and fall, then scooped
up the ball in the end zone. However, replay reversed the original touchdown
call on the field.
Garrett Hartley's 35-yard make early in the second put the Saints on the
board, before Moore hit Jarrett for a 30-yard TD with 13 seconds left in the
Courtney Roby's fumble on the ensuing kickoff was recovered by the Panthers
and led to John Kasay's 41-yarder as time expired for a 17-3 Panthers edge.
The Panthers' second drive of the second half proved fruitful as Kasay hit a
39-yard field goal for a 20-3 game. Kasay then drilled a 37-yarder for a 20-
point spread with just over five minutes to play in the third.
Hamilton's one-yard run with seven seconds left in the quarter cut the Saints'
deficit to 23-10, but two straight New Orleans drives in the fourth resulted
Brunell led the Saints to the Carolina 20 before Julius Peppers' interception
with 2:28 remaining locked up the contest.
The Panthers outgained the Saints by a 327-213 margin...Carolina has won
seven of the last nine meetings with New Orleans dating back to December,
2005...Without having thrown a pass, Brees was able to set the NFL record for
pass completion percentage in a season at 70.6 percent, a shade ahead of Ken
Anderson, who set the record for Cincinnati during the strike-shortened 1982
01/03 17:54:32 ET