Panthers pounce on Saints
Saints drop to 0-2 as Panthers get off the mark in Carolina
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: September 16, 2012 9:55pm
Drew Brees: Put under pressure all day by Carolina
The New Orleans Saints' tough start to the new season continued as they went down 35-27 at the Carolina Panthers to slip to 0-2.
The Saints had such a troubled off-season with their coach Sean Payton being suspended and those problems are affecting things badly on the field.
Drew Brees and his Saints offence actually started like the high-powered team of last year as he led an 80-yard touchdown drive on the opening possession of the game.
Talented tight end Jimmy Graham was the man on the receiving end of a one-yard throw from Brees to put the Saints ahead and it looked as though they had recovered from last week's home loss to Washington.
However, the Panthers came out firing as well, with no love being lost between the two NFC South rivals although it was the home defence who really got them into the game as opposed to Cam Newton and his crew.
The Panthers brought all kinds of pressure on Brees and he made an uncharacteristic blunder when being backed into his own end zone as he tried a risky throw into traffic.
Charles Godfrey was there for the Panthers and he grabbed the ball and walked into the end zone for an easy pick six.
Two Garret Hartley field goals put New Orleans 13-7 ahead in the second quarter but Newton and the Panthers then got into stride, starting with a powerful run and score from Jonathan Stewart after a short pass from Newton following a run fake.
Mike Tolbert then barged over from two yards and DeAngelo Williams followed him in from three yards to put the Panthers in control at 28-13.
Mark Ingram's short running score got the Saints back in business but Newton then showed his running prowess from quarterback as he scored his first rushing touchdown of the season from five yards.
Brees ran in a score of his own from a yard but the Panthers had enough of a lead to hang on to grab their opening win of the season and send the Saints to 0-2 for the first time since 2007.
A week after a team low 10 yards rushing, Carolina pounded New Orleans for 219 yards on the ground with three rushing scores.
Newton had a career-best 71 yards rushing whilst also throwing for 253 yards as the Saints defence took its tally to 924 yards and 75 points surrendered in their opening two games.