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Carolina Panthers Defeat the New Orleans Saints, 44-38, in the Season Finale

Posted by NewOrleansSaints.com on 12/30/2012 – 11:52 pm

The Carolina Panthers defeated the New Orleans Saints 44-38 in the regular season finale Sunday afternoon at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The loss puts the Saints final record for the 2012 season at 7-9, 4-4 at home and 3-3 in NFC South play. The Panthers finished the season at 7-9 as well.

“This game is not what this team is about,” said Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt after the game. “Very disappointing, very disappointing. There is no way to sugarcoat this.”

QB Drew Brees completed 29 of 43 attempts for 396 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Brees finished the season with 5,177 yards, marking it the third time in his career that he surpassed the 5,000-yard mark. There have been six 5,000 yard seasons in NFL history and Brees has three of them.

RB Mark Ingram led the Saints in rushing with 39 yards on 10 carries.

WR Lance Moore hauled in four receptions for a game-high 121 yards. Moore finished the season with a career-high 1,041 yards, marking his first 1,000-yard season.

TE Jimmy Graham had a game-high nine receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown.

WR Marques Colston pulled in five catches for 52 yards and two scores. He is now tied with former Saints WR Eric Martin for the team record for receptions with 532.

LB Jonathan Vilma led the Saints defense with eight total tackles (four solo) and had an interception which he returned for an 18-yard touchdown.

The Panthers won the coin toss and chose to receive.

The Panthers struck first after both teams were forced to punt on their opening possessions.

QB Cam Newton led a 15-play, 76 yard, drive that took Carolina all the way down to the New Orleans two-yard line. The Saints defense held on in the redzone, forcing a field goal. K Graham Gano booted the 20-yard try through the uprights and gave the Panthers an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter.

The Panthers were able to add to their lead with a quick drive in the second quarter. Following a Saints punt, Newton completed a 16-yard pass to WR Brandon LaFell and RB DeAngelo Williams was able to break through the middle and rush for a 65-yard gain before being chased down at the New Orleans one-yard line by S Roman Harper.

RB Mike Tolbert took the ball into the endzone for the Panthers on the next play and Gano gave Carolina a 10-0 lead.

The Saints were able to answer on their next possession though as Brees was able to make some key completions. After two carries by Ingram picked up 21 yards, Brees found Moore for a deep 39-yard completion that moved the black and gold deep into Carolina territory. Brees finished the drive with three consecutive completions including a fourth down pass to Colston for a seven-yard touchdown. K Garret Hartley added the extra point to bring the game within three points in the second quarter.

Then, on the second play of the next drive, Newton was intercepted by Vilma. Vilma took the interception 18 yards into the endzone for a Saints touchdown. Hartley added on one more and gave the Saints the team’s first lead of the day, 14-10, before the two-minute warning.

The Panthers were able to move down the field on two big plays that gave Gano a chance at another field goal before the halftime break. Gano made a 31-yard kick but the Panthers left too much time on the clock.

Brees was able to complete passes of more than 10 yards to Moore, TE Jimmy Graham and RB Darren Sproles to pick up quick first downs. The precision by Brees gave Hartley one final chance for points before halftime and Hartley put a 53-yard field goal through the uprights to increase the Saints lead to 17-13 at halftime.

The Saints began the second half with the football and wasted no time in adding to their lead. Brees completed a 51-yard strike to Moore on the third play of the drive and wasn’t stopped the rest of the way. Brees then found Graham for a 19-yard touchdown to give the Saints a two-score advantage. Hartley added the extra point to increase the lead to 24-13.

The long pass to Moore put the receiver over the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career. The touchdown connection to Graham put Brees over 5,000 yards for his third time, the sixth time in NFL history.

The Panthers were able to answer though in the third quarter. Following two completions by Newton, Williams was able to break off another long run, this time for 54 yards and a touchdown. Gano added the PAT to bring the score to 24-20.

After the teams traded punts, Carolina was able to force a turnover for the first time. S Charles Godfrey intercepted a pass from Brees intended for Moore. Three plays later Tolbert was able to carry the football one yard for a Panthers touchdown. Gano made the extra point to give Carolina a three point advantage, 27-24, at the end of the third quarter.

The Panthers were able to add to their lead early in the fourth quarter as they went 80 yards down the field on just nine plays. Once near the goal line, Tolbert was able to push through for his third one-yard touchdown of the game. Gano increased the lead to 34-24 with ten minutes remaining in regulation.

The Saints went three and out on the next drive. The Panthers rushing attack continued their strong performance when Deangelo Williams ran for a 12-yard touchdown to extend the Panthers lead to 41-24.

Brees and the Saints offense responded with a 10-play, 80-yard drive capped off by a nine-yard touchdown catch by Colston, his second of the day, putting the score at 41-31.

On the following drive, the Panthers drove down to the New Orleans 24-yard line where Gano booted his third field goal on the day to push the Panthers lead to 44-31.

The Saints were able to cut the lead to a one score deficit (44-38) when Brees connected with Sproles for a 33-yard touchdown with 2:55 left in the game.

The Saints failed to recover on a onside kickoff attempt by P Thomas Morstead, ending the team’s chance at a comeback.


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Saints Trail Panthers, 27-24, to Start 4th Quarter

Posted by NewOrleansSaints.com on 12/30/2012 – 8:36 pm

The Carolina Panthers won the coin toss and chose to receive to kick off the 2012 season finale at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Panthers were able to strike first after both teams were forced to punt on their opening possessions. QB Cam Newton led a 15-play, 76 yard, drive that took Carolina all the way down to the New Orleans two-yard line. The Saints defense stepped up with their backs at the endzone and forced a Carolina field goal attempt. K Graham Gano booted the 20-yard try through the uprights and gave the Panthers an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter.

The Panthers were able to add to their lead with a quick drive in the second quarter. Following a Saints punt, Newton completed a 16-yard pass to WR Brandon LaFell and RB DeAngelo Williams was able to break through the middle and rush for a 65-yard gain before being chased down at the New Orleans one-yard line by S Roman Harper. RB Mike Tolbert took the ball into the endzone for the Panthers on the next play and Gano gave Carolina a 10-0 lead.

The Saints were able to answer on their next possession though as QB Drew Brees was able to make some key completions. After two carries by RB Mark Ingram picked up 21 yards, Brees found WR Lance Moore for a deep 39-yard completion that moved the black and gold deep into Carolina territory. Brees finished the drive with three consecutive completions including a fourth down pass to WR Marques Colston for a seven-yard touchdown. K Garret Hartley added the extra point to bring the game within three points in the second quarter.

Then, on the second play of the next drive, Newton was intercepted by LB Jonathan Vilma. Vilma took the interception 18 yards into the endzone for a Saints touchdown. Hartley added on one more and gave the Saints the team’s first lead of the day, 14-10, before the two-minute warning.

The Panthers were able to move down the field one two big plays that gave Gano a chance at another field goal before the halftime break. Gano made a 31-yard kick but the Panthers left too much time on the clock.

Brees was able to complete passes of more than 10 yards to Moore, TE Jimmy Graham and RB Darren Sproles to pick up quick first downs. The precision by Brees gave Hartley one final chance for points before halftime and Hartley put a 53-yard field goal through the uprights to increase the Saints lead to 17-13 at halftime.

The Saints began the second half with the football and wasted no time in adding to their lead. Brees completed a 51-yard strike to Moore on the third play of the drive and wasn’t stopped the rest of the way. Brees then found Graham for a 19-yard touchdown to give the Saints a two-score lead. Hartley added the extra point to increase the lead to 24-13.

The long pass to Moore put the receiver over the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career. The touchdown connection to Graham put Brees over 5,000 yards for his third time, the sixth time in NFL history.

The Panthers were able to answer though in the third quarter. Following two completions by Newton, Williams was able to break off another long run, this time for 54 yards and a touchdown. Gano added the PAT to bring the score to 24-20.

After the teams traded punts, Carolina was able to force a turnover for the first time today. S Charles Godfrey intercepted a pass from Brees intended for Moore. Three plays later Tolbert was able to carry the football one yard for a Panthers touchdown. Gano made the extra point to give Carolina a three point advantage, 27-24, at the end of the third quarter.


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Saints Lead Panthers, 17-13, at Halftime

Posted by NewOrleansSaints.com on 12/30/2012 – 7:37 pm

The Carolina Panthers won the coin toss and chose to receive to kick off the 2012 season finale at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Panthers were able to strike first after both teams were forced to punt on their opening possessions. QB Cam Newton led a 15-play, 76 yard, drive that took Carolina all the way down to the New Orleans two-yard line. The Saints defense stepped up with their backs at the endzone and forced a Carolina field goal attempt. K Graham Gano booted the 20-yard try through the uprights and gave the Panthers an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter.

The Panthers were able to add to their lead with a quick drive in the second quarter. Following a Saints punt, Newton completed a 16-yard pass to WR Brandon LaFell and RB DeAngelo Williams was able to break through the middle and rush for a 65-yard gain before being chased down at the New Orleans one-yard line by S Roman Harper. RB Mike Tolbert took the ball into the endzone for the Panthers on the next play and Gano gave Carolina a 10-0 lead.

The Saints were able to answer on their next possession though as QB Drew Brees was able to make some key completions. After two carries by RB Mark Ingram picked up 21 yards, Brees found WR Lance Moore for a deep 39-yard completion that moved the black and gold deep into Carolina territory. Brees finished the drive with three consecutive completions including a fourth down pass to WR Marques Colston for a seven-yard touchdown. K Garret Hartley added the extra point to bring the game within three points in the second quarter.

Then, on the second play of the next drive, Newton was intercepted by LB Jonathan Vilma. Vilma took the interception 18 yards into the endzone for a Saints touchdown. Hartley added on one more and gave the Saints the team’s first lead of the day, 14-10, before the two-minute warning.

The Panthers were able to move down the field one two big plays that gave Gano a chance at another field goal before the halftime break. Gano made a 31-yard kick but the Panthers left too much time on the clock.

Brees was able to complete passes of more than 10 yards to Moore, TE Jimmy Graham and RB Darren Sproles to pick up quick first downs. The precision by Brees gave Hartley one final chance for points before halftime and Hartley put a 53-yard field goal through the uprights to increase the Saints lead to 17-13 at halftime.


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Panthers Lead Saints, 3-0, to Start 2nd Quarter

Posted by NewOrleansSaints.com on 12/30/2012 – 6:42 pm

The Carolina Panthers won the coin toss and chose to receive to kick off the 2012 season finale at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Panthers were able to strike first after both teams were forced to punt on their opening possessions. QB Cam Newton led a 15-play, 76 yard, drive that took Carolina all the way down to the New Orleans two-yard line. The Saints defense stepped up with their backs at the endzone and forced a Carolina field goal attempt. K Graham Gano booted the 20-yard try through the uprights and gave the Panthers an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter.

Neither team was able to score for the remainder of the period and the Panthers took a 3-0 lead into the second quarter.


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New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers Inactives

Posted by NewOrleansSaints.com on 12/30/2012 – 4:29 pm

New Orleans Saints Inactives:  2011 New Orleans Saints Regular Season
WR Saalim Hakim
DB Jabari Greer
DT Akiem Hicks
DT Tyrunn Walker
LB Scott Shanle
G Ricky Henry
TE Michael Higgins

Carolina Panthers Inactives:
DE Greg Hardy
QB Jimmy Clausen
WR Joe Adams
RB Jonathan Stewart
LB James Anderson
C/G Geoff Hangartner


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New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers Friday Injury Report

Posted by NewOrleansSaints.com on 12/28/2012 – 7:42 pm

New Orleans Saints Friday Injury Report Pierre Thomas

Did Not Practice – Game Status
RB Pierre Thomas (Knee) – OUT
DB Jabari Greer (Concussion) – OUT
DT Akiem Hicks (Knee) – OUT

Full – Game Status
FB Jed Collins (Knee) – Probable
TE Jimmy Graham (Wrist/Finger) – Probable
RB Chris Ivory (Hamstring) – Probable

Carolina Panthers Friday Injury Report

Did Not Practice – Game Status
DE Greg Hardy (Not Injury Related) – Probable
C Geoff Hangartner (Foot) -Questionable
RB Jonathan Stewart (Ankle) – Questionable

Full – Game Status
WR Joe Adams (Ankle) – Questionable
T Jordan Gross (Not Injury Related) – Probable
TE Greg Olsen (Not Injury Related) – Probable
WR Steve Smith (Not Injury Related) – Probable
LB Thomas Davis (Not Injury Related) – Probable
DT Dwan Edwards (Not Injury Related) – Probable
DE Charles Johnson (Not Injury Related) – Probable
RB DeAngelo Williams (Not Injury Related) – Probable
LB James Anderson (Back) – Probable
WR Brandon LaFell (Toe) – Probable


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New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers Thursday Injury Report

Posted by NewOrleansSaints.com on 12/27/2012 – 7:55 pm

New Orleans Saints Thursday Injury Report Pierre Thomas

Did Not Practice
RB Pierre Thomas (Knee)
DB Jabari Greer (Concussion)
DT Akiem Hicks (Knee)

Full
FB Jed Collins (Knee)
TE Jimmy Graham (Wrist/Finger)
RB Chris Ivory (Hamstring)

Carolina Panthers Thursday Injury Report

Did Not Practice
DE Greg Hardy (Not Injury Related)
C Geoff Hangartner (Foot)
RB Jonathan Stewart (Ankle)

Full
WR Joe Adams (Ankle)
T Jordan Gross (Not Injury Related)
TE Greg Olsen (Not Injury Related)
WR Steve Smith (Not Injury Related)
LB Thomas Davis (Not Injury Related)
DT Dwan Edwards (Not Injury Related)
DE Charles Johnson (Not Injury Related)
RB DeAngelo Williams (Not Injury Related)
LB James Anderson (Back)
WR Brandon LaFell (Toe)


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Drew Brees on Verge of Becoming First QB in NFL History to Throw 40 Touchdowns in Back-to-Back Seasons

Posted by NewOrleansSaints.com on 12/27/2012 – 4:34 pm

VIA NFL Public Relations

QB Drew Brees leads the league with 39 touchdown passes this season. With at least one TD pass against Carolina on Sunday, Brees would become the first  New Orleans Saints 41 - Tampa Bay Bucs  0All Images Copyright Michael C. Hebertplayer in NFL history with at least 40 touchdown passes in back-to-back seasons. He led the league with 46 TD passes in 2011.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino is the only NFL player with 40+ passing TDs in multiple seasons (1984, 1986).

If he finishes the season as the NFL TD pass leader, Brees would tie Brett Favre and Pro Football Hall of Famers Len Dawson Johnny Unitas and Steve Young (four) for the most seasons leading the league in touchdown passes in NFL annals. Brees has led the league in TD passes three times (2008-09, 2011).


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New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers Wednesday Injury Report

Posted by NewOrleansSaints.com on 12/26/2012 – 10:12 pm

New Orleans Saints Wednesday Injury Report Jed Collins,  Sherrod Martin

Did Not Practice
FB Jed Collins (Knee)
RB Pierre Thomas (Knee)
DB Jabari Greer (Concussion)
DT Akiem Hicks (Knee)

Full
TE Jimmy Graham (Wrist/Finger)
RB Chris Ivory (Hamstring)

Carolina Panthers Wednesday Injury Report

Did Not Practice
T Jordan Gross (Not Injury Related)
TE Greg Olsen (Not Injury Related)
WR Steve Smith (Not Injury Related)
LB Thomas Davis (Not Injury Related)
DT Dwan Edwards (Not Injury Related)
DE Charles Johnson (Not Injury Related)
DE Greg Hardy (Not Injury Related)
RB DeAngelo Williams (Not Injury Related)
C Geoff Hangartner (Foot)
LB James Anderson (Back)

Limited
RB Jonathan Stewart (Ankle)
WR Brandon LaFell (Toe)

Full
WR Joe Adams (Ankle)


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Saints Top Cowboys, 34-31, in Overtime

Posted by NewOrleansSaints.com on 12/23/2012 – 9:42 pm

K Garrett Hartley kicked a 20-yard field goal in overtime to give the New Orleans Saints (7-8) a 34-31 win over the Dallas Cowboys (8-7) Sunday afternoon at Cowboys Stadium.

New Orleans has now won seven of the past eight meetings between the two teams.

The Saints will return home to close out the 2012 season in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome next Sunday against their NFC South rival the Carolina Panthers.

“The character, resolve and togetherness in the locker room is fun to be around on a daily basis,” said Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt. “This football team is weather tested and they stick together. They are fun to coach.”

QB Drew Brees completed 37 of 53 throws for 446 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions (114.2 rating). Brees became the first player in NFL history to reach 4,500 yards in three consecutive seasons.

The Saints used a trio of running backs as major contributors to the offense. RB Mark Ingram carried 21 times for 53 yards and a touchdown. RB Darren Sproles rushed nine times for 48 yards while also adding 104 yards on seven catches. RB Pierre Thomas added 16 rushing yards on seven carries and recorded seven receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown.

WR Marques Colston caught ten passes for 153 yards, both the most by a Saints player against the Cowboys in team history. TE Jimmy Graham added 88 yards on seven receptions and WR Lance Moore hauled in four passes for 30 yards and a touchdown.

LB Curtis Lofton recorded five solo tackles and forced a fumble that he also recovered. CB Patrick Robinson led the team in tackles with eight stops (seven solo).

The Saints won the battle of possession as they held the ball for 41:59 of the contest. New Orleans racked up 562 total yards while picking up 33 first downs while Dallas was only able to move the chains 18 times.

After winning the coin toss and electing to receive, Brees and the Saints offense was able to orchestrate a ten-play, 80 yard drive to start the first quarter. Brees completed four of six passes for 52 yards with all of his completions going for more than ten yards and a first down. Ingram, who carried three times on the opening possession, finished the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run. Hartley made the extra point to give the Saints a 7-0 advantage early in the first quarter.

The Cowboys’ only drive of the first quarter was shut down by the Saints defense as DT Tom Johnson sacked QB Tony Romo with Dallas facing third down in New Orleans territory.

After another long drive, the Saints were unable to convert on third down to start the second quarter and were forced to attempt a field goal. Hartley missed a 36-yard field goal try and returned the ball to Romo and the Cowboys.

Romo found WR Dez Bryant on second down to move the chains and found Bryant again for a 58-yard touchdown pass on the next snap to cap off a three-play scoring drive. K Dan Bailey made the extra point to tie the game, 7-7.

After two holding penalties halted a Saints drive, the Cowboys were able to take the lead in the middle of the second quarter. Romo completed all three of his pass attempts for 76 yards and was able to find Bryant for another 58-yard touchdown pass. Bailey added the PAT to give the Cowboys a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.

The Saints had another chance for points before the end of the first half as the New Orleans offense went 90 yards on 12 plays over 4:32. Brees was seven for nine passing on the drive while Colston caught three passes for 33 yards. Brees capped off the drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to Moore, who recorded his 60th reception of the season. Hartley made the extra point to tie the game at 14-14 with only one minute remaining in the first half.

On the drive, Brees became just the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 4,500 yards in three consecutive seasons. Colston was able to reach the 1,000 yard mark for the year for the sixth time in his seven seasons.

With the touchdown reception by Moore, the Saints became just the second team in NFL history to have four receivers with 60 or more catches in a season, behind just the 1990 Houston Oilers.

Receiving the ball with just over a minute left to play in the first half, the Cowboys looked to put more points on the board but were stopped by the Saints defense and punted the ball back to New Orleans.

Brees was able to find Sproles for a 44-yard gain through the air to set up a field goal attempt before halftime. Hartley made the 37-yard try and gave the Saints a 17-14 halftime lead.

The Cowboys opened the second half with the football and were able to gain three first downs to move into Saints territory. The New Orleans defense held strong before Dallas could reach the redzone and Bailey was forced to attempt a long field goal. Bailey put the 47-yard kick through the uprights to tie the game, 17-17, in the third quarter.

Later in the third quarter, the Cowboys were backed up deep in their own territory after a punt by P Thomas Morstead left them with possession at the Dallas three-yard line. RB DeMarco Murray rushed for four yards but Lofton forced a fumble that he recovered at the Dallas five-yard line. Three plays later, Brees found Thomas for a five-yard touchdown pass. Hartley added the extra point to give the Saints a 24-17 that New Orleans would keep for the remainder of the quarter.

The Saints were able to increase their lead early in the fourth quarter as the black and gold went 98 yards on just nine plays. Brees found Colston for a 60-yard strike on the drive to move deep into Cowboys’ territory before finishing off the drive with a three-yard touchdown pass to TE David Thomas. Hartley added the PAT to increase the lead to 31-17.

Romo was able to answer later in the fourth quarter following a Saints punt. Starting after a touchback, Romo completed four of five passes to lead the Cowboys 80 yards including a 41-yard strike to Bryant. Romo scored with a 16-yard touchdown pass WR Dwayne Harris and Bailey made the extra point to bring the game within a touchdown.

The Cowboys were given one more chance to tie the game after the two-minute warning. Romo completed four passes for 64 yards including a 19-yard touchdown pass to WR Miles Austin on fourth down with 15 seconds remaining in regulation. Bailey tied the game, 31-31, and sent the contest to overtime.

Dallas began the overtime period with the football but were stopped on just four plays and the Cowboys were forced to punt the ball back to New Orleans.

The Saints, faced with a chance to win the game, were able to move into Dallas territory as Brees found Graham on two throws for 33 yards. Then, on second down, Brees completed a pass to Colston who fumbled the football. Graham recovered the ball on the Dallas two-yard line and Hartley connected on a 20-yard field goal to give the Saints a 34-31 win in overtime.

 


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