The Saints defense finally gave up a touchdown, but the end result was still a good one on Monday night.
After failing to get into the end zone during the first half, the Saints got a pair of touchdowns from running back Tony Jones in the second half and their defense stifled Carolina until the end of the fourth quarter. The 20-17 win lifts the Saints to 2-0 on the season and the Panthers are now 0-2.
Panthers quarterback Bryce Young was sacked four times and pressured many more times while running a passing attack that almost exclusively featured short passes. Young lost a fumble on one of the sacks and finished the evening 22-of-33 for 153 yards. His biggest play came on a scramble for 26 yards on a drive that saw the Panthers move into the red zone, but a sack by linebacker Demario Davis left the Panthers to settle for a field goal.
Saints quarterback Derek Carr hooked up with wide receiver Rashid Shaheed for 45 yards a couple of plays later and Taysom Hill helped set up Jones' second touchdown of the night with a 19-yard run. Wide receiver Chris Olave set up Jones' first score with the team's other big offensive play of the night. That play saw Olave overcome contact from Panthers corner C.J. Henderson while juggling the ball with his left hand and then securing it to his body while going down.
That 42-yarder was part of a six-catch, 86-yard night for Olave. Shaheed had four catches for 63 yards and Michael Thomas has seven receptions as Carr found some success when he had time to throw. That was only intermittent as he was sacked four times as well, but the Saints' offensive operation — Hill had 75 yards on nine carries while helping to fill in for the injured Jamaal Williams — was still more impressive than anything the Panthers could put together until the final minutes of the game.
Young was able to find success playing in a hurry-up offense after falling behind by 11 points and got the Panthers in the end zone on a pass to Adam Thielen. He went to Thielen again for a two-point conversion, but the Saints recovered the onside kick to seal the win.
The Panthers will try to build on that ending in Seattle in Week Three while the Saints head to Green Bay in search of a 3-0 start.