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Panthers Bite Brees in 30-7 Win

”I thought we got beat in every area.” This quote from New Orleans coach Sean Payton pretty much says it all. Rebounding from last week’s thrashing at Tampa Bay, the Carolina Panthers took the bite out of Drew Brees’ prolific passing attack. The Saints have now fallen to 0-3 on the road, after their 30-7 loss yesterday afternoon in Charlotte.

The Panthers thoroughly dominated New Orleans, moving to 4-0 at Bank of America Stadium. Saints quarterback Brees was held to a season low 231 yards, after passing for at least 320 yards and two touchdowns in the last six games. He was harassed all afternoon by the resurgent Julius Peppers, as clearly the vaunted New Orleans offensive line had trouble containing the defensive end. Brees completed 21 of 39 passes, with one interception, and uncharacteristically struggled with accuracy.

Peppers has returned to his All-Pro form and generally showed up all over the field; he had three tackles, with two for a loss, a deflected pass, a forced fumble, and a sack. His strip of tight end Jeremy Shockey in the second quarter turned the momentum back to the Panthers, as the Saints had taken a 7-3 lead. Panthers standout safety Chris Harris recovered the fumble, and they were able to capitalize on it with an 18-yard TD from rookie running back Jonathan Stewart, set up by a beautiful 19-yard catch from Steve Smith.

Carolina’s defense also had two tremendous 4th down stands, with one being near the endzone, and dashing most of New Orleans’ comeback hopes early in the 4th quarter. Moreover, they combined for numerous deflected passes, and cornerback Ken Lucas had a pick.

New Orleans marvel Reggie Bush gained 55 yards on 9 carries, and had only one catch for 5 yards before aggravating a knee injury trying to spark the offense at the end of the first half. Unfortunately he was not to return, and looks to miss their upcoming game in London at the very least. The return of Jeremy Shockey and Marques Colston to the League’s leading offense was not quite as potent as one may had thought. Shockey appeared hampered by his recently-repaired sports hernia, and Colston was impeded by the splint for his thumb.

Carolina QB Jake Delhomme spread the ball around, hitting seven different receivers for at least one catch; star wideout Steve Smith had 6 catches for 122 yards, and one amazing touchdown. Delhomme managed to hit Smith in between two New Orleans defenders, and Smith made a dandy catch on his back. It was good to see #89 in the endzone again; it was starting to miss him. While Smith and fellow wideout Muhsin Muhammad have not gotten their usual plethora of touchdowns this far into the season, they have quietly set up a lot of nice touchdown runs for their teammates, and some exceptional blocks, as well.

Jonathan Stewart rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown, and DeAngelo Williams rushed for 66 yards, with a receiving touchdown.

Delhomme went 14 of 22 for 195 yards, with 2 touchdowns, and most importantly, no picks. He more than redeemed himself for the dismal outing at Tampa Bay last Sunday.

New Orleans faces a hungry San Diego team at Wembley Stadium in London next week, and the Panthers are at home against the surprising Arizona Cardinals.

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One Response to “Panthers Bite Brees in 30-7 Win”

  1. Jimmy says:

    Congratulations Carolina fans. That team is going to be very tough to beat. They just don’t quit. See you in the playoffs.

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