NEW ORLEANS – Alvin Kamara’s 12-yard touchdown catch and run sealed a series split for the New Orleans Saints against their division rivals, the Carolina Panthers, as the team from the bayou notched an 18-10 victory at the Caesar’s SuperDome.
The win for New Orleans avenged a week two loss to Carolina, with both teams having strong reversals of fortune since their earlier matchup.
Carolina’s 3-0 start remains a distant memory, as the Panthers have dropped 11 of the following 13 contests that followed.
The common refrains for the Panthers during this season reigned true again in New Orleans. The team showed inconsistent offensive play brought about by substandard quarterback and offensive-line play, coupled with a defense unable to overcompensate for the offense’s woes.
New Orleans sacked Carolina quarterback Sam Darnold seven times, with Cameron Jordan racking up exactly half of the total output (3.5). The seven sacks tied for the Panthers’ most allowed this season, tying the total given up last week against Tampa Bay.
Carolina started well, scoring their first two drives, but the final eight possessions resulted in five punts, a lost fumble, a missed field goal which would have given the Panthers the lead, and an interception which effectively ended the game.
Darnold averaged just 5.1 yards per attempt, as he completed 17 of 26 passes for 132 yards and an interception. The Panthers ran the ball 26 times for just 88 yards, with Chuba Hubbard accounting for the team’s only touchdown.
The loss assured the Panthers will finish in fourth place in the NFC South, with Carolina currently occupying the sixth overall pick. A loss would assure they finish no lower than sixth in the draft order, and could move them to the fifth spot if the Giants beat Washington in Week 18.
Carolina (5-11) concludes its season next Sunday visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.