Here's a gallery of today's game:
FINAL: Saints 31, Panthers 21
Kamara catches a screen and turns upfield for a big play and that will probably do it. First down Saints at the two-minute warning.
Saints have the ball at midfield. Carolina with one timeout left. They'll burn clock here.
Newton finds Funchess along the sideline and he stays in bounds for a touchdown. 31-21. An onside kick is recovered by Carolina, but it looks like this will be overturned as Funchess was out of bounds when he made contact with the ball. Funchess made a nice dive to try and save the ball from going out of bounds, but looks like his shoulder was out of bounds.
Newton gets free and runs for 31 yards.
The Panthers have another fumble, but recover it for a first down. Nice play by McCaffrey on the leap over a defender.
Saints add a field goal and it's 31-14 with 6:08 left.
Brees connects with Thomas again down the sideline and the Saints are in position to go up three scores with under seven minutes left.
Well, that's another crucial mistake. Kaelin Clay fumbles the punt return and the Saints recover. Clay ran a punt back for a touchdown last week.
Huge sack by Kyle Love on 2nd and 1 turns into 3rd and 11 for the Saints. Kamara tackled in the backfield and Panthers should get good field position here. They're not out of it yet.
Panthers turn it over on downs after going for it on fourth and 6. A pass to Funchess right at the first down marker is ruled short and the Saints will get the ball back.
END THIRD QUARTER: Saints 28, Panthers 14
Worley misses an interception chance, but New Orleans misses a field goal one play later so Carolina still in it, but needs to make something happen down 28-14.
With under two minutes left in the third quarter, the Panthers have three yards on offense this half.
Panthers have to punt after Cam scrambles trying to make something happen. Saints ball.
A hold against the Saints keeps the drive alive for Carolina. They're down two scores after a momentum-charging drive by New Orleans. Saints out gaining the Panthers 310-154.
Kamara breaks a pair of tackles and heads into the end zone for the second time. The rookie has a great mix of speed and power. Panthers struggling big-time tackling on this drive. 28-14 Saints.
Great effort by Ingram to ward off two tacklers and fight for the first down on third and seven.
A punt return for touchdown for the Saints is wiped out by a couple of flags. Saints get the ball at their own 33.
HALFTIME: Saints 21, Panthers 14 - A dropped snap on a punt and a late hit out of bounds helped New Orleans get an extra 14 points, something you can't do in an important game like this. Carolina is fortunate to only be down 7.
Brees is sacked at the 50 with 1:02 left. Huge play by the Panthers defensive line to break down the pocket.
Saints driving trying to add to their lead and now in Carolina territory.
Christian McCaffrey touchdown on third and 4! Newton finds McCaffrey after he peeled away from the defense. An easy pitch and catch on a blown assignment by the Saints. 21-14 with 1:56 left in the first half. McCaffrey has six touchdowns over the last eight games.
Panthers get a turnover! Mike Adams punches the ball out and Luke Kuechly recovers. Panthers need a score here.
Stewart can't get the first down on third and 1. Panthers need a stop here to stay in the game.
Brees finds Thomas on third down just across the goal line. Touchdown Saints. Brees had lots of time to throw and Davis found a gap in the coverage. 21-7 Saints 7:21 left in the half. Crucial mistakes for the Panthers are to blame for the deficit.
A late hit penalty on Julius Peppers is killer there. Gives Saints a first down and will allow them to keep driving for a touchdown.
Devin Funchess in man coverage on a deep throw, but can't reel it in. And the punter Michael Palardy drops the ball on the snap and tries to throw a pass and it's incomplete. Turnover on downs for Carolina. Not ideal. Saints will get great field position at the Carolina 31.
A 72-yard run by Mark Ingram has the Saints in business. Good blocks by the OL and receiver there for the Saints. Ingram scores two plays later and Saints retake the lead. Panthers defense having a problem slowing down New Orleans again. 14-7 Saints.
END FIRST QUARTER: Panthers 7, Saints 7
Panthers defense causes another three and out, settling down since the first drive of the game. Carolina gets the ball at its own 34.
Daryl Worley now in at cornerback for Carolina.
Daryl Worley in for his first series.— Joe Person (@josephperson) December 3, 2017
A tackle for loss on second down forces third and long which kills the Panthers ensuing drive. Saints will take over at their own 25.
Brees overthrows Thomas and Saints go three and out.
Touchdown Panthers! Jonathan Stewart with a two-yard touchdown run! Big answer by Carolina and we're tied at 7. A 10-play 75-yard drive knots up the score with 5:09 left in the first quarter.
A Mike Adams face mask penalty gives New Orleans a first and goal at the 2. Big stand by the Panthers on three straight plays but Kamara finds his way in after being stood up initially by linebacker Shaq Thompson. A lot of effort on that two-yard run. 7-0 Saints after one possession.
Alvin Kamara with another nice play on a catch out of the backfield and jukes a tackle for a first down. Kamara has been a focal point for the Saints all year.
Saints get the ball first and they're inside Panthers territory after a 22-yard catch by Michael Thomas.
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Eyes around the NFL will be glued to today's Panthers-Saints matchup, which will be for first place in the NFC South entering the last month of the regular season.
Both teams carry 8-3 records. If these two meeting for conference supremacy late in the season seems familiar, it should. Back in 2013, these two rivals - both 9-3 then and tied atop the NFC South - battled in a Week 14 showdown. Now, they meet again under nearly identical circumstances.
In Week 3, the Saints beat the Panthers 34-13 in Charlotte in the Panthers' worst defensive performance of the season. Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw for three touchdowns and Cam Newton had a rough day with three interceptions. New Orleans has the league's second-ranked offense and is averaging an NFL-best nearly 32 points a game.
Back in 2013, these two rivals - both 9-3 then and tied atop the NFC South - battled in a Week 14 showdown. Now, they meet again under nearly identical circumstances.
LAST WEEK: The Panthers managed a come-from behind win against the upset-minded Jets, 35-27, while the Saints' eight-game win streak was snapped last week in a 26-20 loss to Los Angeles.
The Saints are a five-point favorite and will have the home crowd behind them. The Panthers have won four in a row and can make a statement with a victory. Carolina has three straight home games coming up after today.
Be sure to follow along on Twitter and Facebook and use the hashtag #PanthersOn2 for all of WFMY News 2's coverage.
- Saints rookie Alvin Kamara leads the NFL in yards per carry at 7.1 (546 yards on 77 carries) and has been just as dangerous as a receiver (548 yards on 54 receptions). Containing him will be a big priority for the Panthers.
- Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is not expected to play. Olsen came back from a foot injury last week against the Jets, then left the game after aggravating his surgically repaired right foot. Center Ryan Kalil is also inactive for Carolina. For the Saints, cornerback Marshon Lattimore won't play.
- The Panthers will be without defensive end Charles Johnson after he was suspended for four games for violating the league's performance enhancing drug policy.
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