Sunday afternoon’s matchup with the Carolina Panthers (7-9) held very little meaning for the New Orleans Saints (13-3) outside of a chance at finishing the regular season a franchise best 14-2. Without Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara on the offensive side of the ball, the Panthers capitalized on the opportunity and came away with a 33-14 win.
Kyle Allen wasted little time taking the lead with an 11-play drive that was capped off by a one-yard run from the third string quarterback getting his first start of his career. After forcing the Saints to punt on their opening drive, Cameron Artis-Payne attacked the Saints defense and made it 13-0 with a 15-yard run.
It remained 13-0 until late in the second quarter when Allen connected with Ian Thomas in the back of the endzone to make it 20-0. However, they weren’t done getting points in the first half as Chandler Catanzaro atoned for his missed extra point with a 22-yard field goal as time expired to make it 23-0 headed into the locker room.
The final nail was pushed in late in the third quarter with a 53-yard pass from Allen to Curtis Samuel to make it 30-0. The Saints were able to avoid getting shutout with a nine-yard pass from Teddy Bridgewater to rookie Tre’Quan Smith early in the fourth quarter. It was Bridgewater’s first touchdown pass in over three years.
After Catanzaro drilled a 51-yard field goal, Taysom Hill made it 33-14 with a nine-yard run into the endzone with 3:47 left in the ballgame.
The Saints will now wait for the NFC Divisional round for their next ballgame. Opponent and kickoff time is to be determined.