We’ve seen Super Bowl-losing teams struggle before, but how many have been 1-5 six weeks into the season after that loss?
Saints rookie Wil Lutz won the game with a 52-yard field goal with 16 seconds left to play.
The Panthers had Cam Newton back for the game, after the reigning MVP missed last week’s game to a concussion.
But to say the Panthers got off to a slow start is an understatement.
Carolina’s first three possessions ended with punts – the second and third were three-and-outs – and the fourth ended with an interception, and the Saints built up a 21-0 lead in the process. Carolina did put 10 points on the board in the second quarter, but were down 24-10 at the break.
Even the third quarter wasn’t great, as the Panthers had three possessions: two punts and one touchdown. Only problem: so did the Saints.
But Carolina got three touchdowns in the fourth, tying the game at 38-38 on a diving Newton 2-yard touchdown and Newton-to-devin Funchess two-point conversion. Drew Brees, however, drove his team down the field just enough, and put the win on Lutz’s foot.
Brees had his 18th career 400 yard passing game, more than twice as many as any other active quarterback – Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger each have eight – completing passes to 10 receivers along the way.
It was not the sharpest passing day for Newton, as he finished 27-for-47, but he was crisp in the fourth quarter, going 7-for-10 for 90 yards, including a did-you-see-that jump pass for a score to Ed Dickson. The touchdown was one of only two carries he was credited with, tying for the fewest he’s had in a game, possibly a nod to his status as recovering from a head injury.
The Panthers are now on their bye and will be looking to regroup; they host Arizona, the team they topped in the NFC title game in January, in Week 8.