John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
It was quite the back and forth game but the story was the Panthers offense eventually pummeling the Saints historically bad defense. Rb DeAngelo Williams rushed for a career high 210 yards and two TDs erasing any doubt Williams can be an elite RB.
The Panthers jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter only to see their momentum squashed by a Saints TD and then a Newton pick 6. The Saints finished the half on a 24-3 run to take the early momentum.
The Panthers then answered with 4 stright TD's to take what seemed like a commanding 41-24 lead. In between we had a late hit on Newton that wasn't called and resulted in him missing the longest time of the season. Derek Anderson filled in admirably for a few plays but Newton was not to be denied, bounty-like hit or not. All it took was for the Panthers to get inside the 5 and Mike Tolbert did the rest. Tolbert finished with 3 rushing TDs on the day but only 25 yds rushing. He was the classic TD vulture!
When needed the defense made big plays highlighted by a Charles Godfrey INT that stopped a Saints drive. LB Luke Kuechly added another 10 tackles to his total while DE Charles Johnson added two sacks to his total. BTW, greg Hardy was a late scratch due to ''personal reasons'. We hope everything is okay there.
I have to give props to K Fragham Gano who though he missed a 54 ydr he did connect on 3 of 4 and a key one late to extend the lead to 6 points. Also I have to mention Armanti Edwards 69 yard punt return though he did get run out of bounds by the kicker. Very nice run back none the less.
Big props to Cam Newton or coming back in the game after getting his ankle tweaked. First play back he hits LaFell at the one yard line.
The Panthers finish the season 7-9, one game better than 2011. It's not what we hoped in the preseason but better than we expected 8 weeks ago.
Let the Panthers post-season begin!
The Panther Player of the Game in the win over the Saints was:
Cam Newton (22 votes)
DeAngelo Williams (597 votes)
Charles Johnson (3 votes)
Mike Tolbert (21 votes)
Luke Kuechly (11 votes)
654 total votes