Saints come up short in 22-14 loss to Panthers
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WVUE) - The Saints made things interesting in the final minutes Sunday (Sept. 25), but dropped their second game in a row to a divisional rival with a 22-14 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Carolina (1-2), which had lost nine consecutive games dating to last season, dominated most of the game.
The Panthers raced to a 13-0 lead in the first half. The Panthers scored a defensive touchdown when Marquis Haynes recovered a fumble stripped from Saints running back Alvin Kamara and returned it 44 yards for a score with 5:44 left in the first quarter. Carolina kicker Eddy Pineiro added two second-quarter field goals of 45 and 48 yards, to stretch the lead to 13.
The Saints (1-2), who managed only 10 points a week earlier in a home loss to Tampa Bay, appeared in danger of being shut out for the first time in 324 games before breaking through with 12:35 to play in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard touchdown run up the middle by Mark Ingram II.
The TD seemed to give the Saints new life, making it a one-score game at 13-7, but the Panthers responded with a dagger play just 16 seconds later. Carolina quarterback Baker Mayfield hit Laviska Shenault with a short screen pass, which the speedy receiver turned into a 67-yard touchdown after juking his way past Saints cornerback P.J. Williams and racing down the left sideline.
Saints quarterback Jameis Winston threw the first of two fourth-quarter interceptions on New Orleans’ next drive, which the Panthers converted into a seven-play scoring push that ended with a 34-yard Pineiro field goal. That put the Panthers up 22-7 with 8:23 to play.
The Saints, however, unfurled a three-play, 90-yard scoring drive that cut the deficit to 22-14. Marquez Callaway made a leaping, one-handed grab in the end zone of a 4-yard touchdown pass from Winston with 2:29 left to play.
New Orleans’ defense forced a Carolina punt with 27 seconds left in the game to give Winston one last chance. But the quarterback, struggling physically with back and ankle injuries, was picked off again on his first pass of the drive.
Between Sunday’s loss and last week’s 20-10 defeat to Tampa Bay, Winston has thrown five interceptions in the Saints’ last two fourth quarters. He completed 25 of 41 passes Sunday for 353 yards, with one TD and the two late turnovers.
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