I always start with the efficiency stats where the Panthers were dreadful on this day:
3rd down Efficiency: 0/9 (0%)
Amazingly the Panthers didn;t convert a single one. In fact I want to say the Panthers two touchdown 'drives' amounted to 43 total seconds of click time. That is living vicariously my Panther fan friends!
The defense a good job though holding the high pwoered Saitns offense to 5/18 (28%).
4th Down Efficiency: 0/0
Much to our surprise Ron Rivera decided against going for it on 4th down...and it worked!
Rushing Yards: Panthers 81 (4.5) vs. Saints 126 (4.2)
Another head scratcher is the Saints out rushing the Panthers. I think that was more because the Saints were protecting a lead for most of the day as well as trying to slow down the Panthers pass rush.
Turnovers: Saints 2 Panthers 1
Certainly one of the keys tot he outcome, the Panthers turned their first one into a touchdown.
TOP: 38 to 22
The biggest indicator of how much the Panther offense struggled to stay on the field. The Panthers had an astounding seven (7) three and outs in this game. That might have matched their season total in one game.
Penalties: Panthers 3 for 26
The Panthers had yet another flag picked up this game, something we have seen happen a lot in this charmed season we are leading. Overall a good performance for sure.
Red zone eff: 1/3
The Panthers didn't get in the red zone and didn't do much when they did.
Offensive Plays: 44 Panther plays vs 81 for the Saints
This is a better stat to show the effect of the time of possession disparity.
AVG gain per pass play: Panthers 5.4 vs. Saints 4.7
The Panthers did a much better job of keeping the Saints receivers in front of them.
QB Rating: Newton 81 Brees 74
So I thought Brees had the better day? Nope...
Key Player Stats:
Kuechly: 24* tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT, 1 Pass defensed
* Kuechly set a team record with the performance
Munnerlyn: 8 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QB Hurry, 1 Pass defensed
Another great game from the Panthers #1 CB
Tolbert 32 (73%)
Tolbert was in the game a lot, he just didn't touch the ball much. I imagine it was by design but I'll wait for Crawford's analysis before saying any more.
LaFell, Smith, Ginn, Hixon - 43 (98%), 8 (18%), 24 (55%), 30 (68%)
Shows how much work Hixon got once Smith went down. Though Marvin McNutt may finally be active this week I expect Hixon to get the majority of the snaps in the slot. I expect to see Ted Ginn play the X receiver in Smitty's absence.
Chris Scott 10 (23%)
Scott finally gets a chance to knock the rust off.
DT rotation: Star 55 (68%), Edwards 44 (54%), Short 44 (54%) Cole 4 (5%)
Once Cole went down early with a calf strain the other tree had to put in extra work.