The Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints entered today’s game with not much to play for other than good old fashioned pride, and the Panthers showed up today intent on preventing the Saints from getting their franchise-record 14th win on the season. The Saints, on the other hand, treated this game like a preseason affair, playing a lineup of mostly backups for the majority of the game.
Kyle Allen played admirably for the Panthers considering that he was playing behind a patchwork offensive line that had already caused season-ending injuries for two quarterbacks on the roster. His throws were on the money, his decisions were positive, and he looked like he belonged on the field. (We’ll ignore the part about the Saints not trying very hard because we’re desperate for something positive here, okay?)
The Panthers looked good on both sides of the ball for the first time in over a month. Yes, the Saints were resting key starters to prepare for a playoff run, and yes, the Panthers hurt their draft position by winning this game. Those two things are absolutely true. But, at the very least, watching this game was fun. That’s something we haven’t been able to say for a long time, and it’s nice to be able to say that today.
If there are any other downsides to today’s win, it has to be that Julius Peppers came a half-sack short of passing Kevin Greene for third all-time on the career sacks list. If this was indeed his final game of a Hall of Fame career, that’s extremely unfortunate. But, it was fun to see him get so close. I for one was hopeful he would find a way to pick up that final sack, but it simply wasn’t meant to be. Maybe he’ll come back for one last ride in 2019... if so, he’ll surely pick up that last sack needed. But if not, being fourth all-time isn’t too shabby.
The Panthers end 2018 on a high note, but overall it was a disappointing effort to see a team start 6-2 and finish 7-9. Hopefully things will work out better next season, and with it being an odd year, chances are the Panthers will find themselves in the playoff hunt once again.
We can only hope... right?
The Saints are running the ball and preventing Peppers a chance to sack the quarterback. That’s lame imo.
TWO MINUTE WARNING: Panthers 33 - Saints 14
The Panthers go three and out and Peppers will have one more shot to pass Greene on the all-time sacks list.
Cadet back in at running back.
The Panthers will start at their own 25 after the touchback.
TOUCHDOWN SAINTS: Taysom Hill carries it through the defense for the score. The XP is good. Panthers 33 - Saints 14
It’s first and goal for the Saints. Washington has over 100 yards rushing today. He’s been the one bright spot for New Orleans all afternoon.
Washington is still gashing the defense. Just picked up 23 yards on first down.
The Panthers go for it on 4th down but fail to convert. Saints ball.
Gilbert finds Moore on 3rd down but he’s short of the sticks. 4th and 1.
Travaris Cadet is in at running back to start this drive.
INTERCEPTION: Colin Jones picks off Bridgewater and the Panthers have the ball back.
Kyle Allen is out for the rest of the game and Christian McCaffrey is the emergency quarterback. Let’s not do that, please.
FIELD GOAL PANTHERS: The kick is good. Panthers 33 - Saints 7
Catanzaro is out to try a 51-yard field goal.
It’s 3rd and 15 after Gilbert goes down on a sack by Marcus Davenport.
Gilbert runs play-action and finds Thomas for a 31-yard gain. First down.
It’s 3rd and 1 after a four yard gain by CAP.
It is, in fact, Garrett Gilbert time.
Allen is being checked out by trainers after taking a hard shot to his right shoulder. It might be Garrett Gilbert time, y’all.
Allen is hit again and the ball is ruled incomplete. There’s also a flag for defensive holding that gives the Panthers five yards and a first down.
The flag is picked up because the pass was thrown out of bounds.
Allen tries to find Torrey Smith but the pass falls incomplete. There’s a flag on the play.
TOUCHDOWN SAINTS: There goes the shutout. Bridgewater finds Tre’Quan Smith in the endzone for the score. The XP is good. Panthers 30 - Saints 7
Thomas makes the catch and breaks Joe Horn’s record. 3rd and goal.
A holding penalty takes the ball back to the CAR 15.
Taysom Hill is in at quarterback and he loses one yard.
END OF 3RD QUARTER: Panthers 30 - Saints 0
The Panthers are getting gashed on the ground by Dwayne Washington. 1st and goal.
Michael Thomas picks up a first down and it appears he has tied Joe Horn for the franchise record for receiving yards. That’s nice.
The Saints pick up two quick first downs and are in Panthers territory.
TOUCHDOWN PANTHERS: The play stands on review. The XP is good. Panthers 30 - Saints 0
Kyle Allen slings it deep and finds Samuel downfield for a 53-yard bomb! It’s rule a touchdown but its under review. Samuel thought he scored but he looks to be just short of the goal line. It should be 1st and goal.
CAP takes it again for 7 more yards. He’s had himself a decent afternoon. 2nd and 3.
CAP squirms his way through the defense to pick up a first down on 2nd and 7.
And the Saints have to punt again. The Panthers are playing good defense today.
The Panthers almost recovered a fumble but it’s rule an incomplete pass.
And it’s another three and out. The Panthers will punt again.
It’s 3rd and long after two quick plays. This game has suddenly turned into a defensive battle.
David Mayo makes a good play to break up a pass that would have been a first down. The Saints will now punt.
It’s quickly 3rd and 7 for the Saints.
The Panthers quickly go three and out and will punt. It’s the first non-scoring drive of the game so far for Carolina.
The Panthers force a punt and are back on offense. Good work by the defense, there.
Julius Peppers came one yard short of sacking Bridgewater to move into third place on the all-time sacks list.
The Saints pick up a first down after Bridgewater evades pressure.
Be prepared to see a lot of backups in the 2nd half.
The Saints will receive the 2nd half kickoff.
HALFTIME: Panthers 23 - Saints 0
FIELD GOAL PANTHERS: The kick is good. Panthers 23 - Saints 0
Allen finds Cadet but he’s well short of the goal line. 4th and goal. The Panthers will attempt a short field goal with 0:03 left in the half.
Samuel makes the catch but is out of bounds. 3rd and goal.
It’s 2nd and goal after Allen overthrows the receiver in the endzone.
Allen throws deep for Moore but it’s broken up. There’s a flag on the play. It’s pass interference on the defense. The Panthers are now in the red zone.
Allen finds Thomas for another first down.
Travaris Cadet carries it across midfield for four yards.
Allen keeps slinging it... he finds Curtis Samuel down field for a first down.
Moore lets the punt bounce on the turf and the Panthers take over on their own 30-yard line.
Addison chases Bridgewater out of bounds and it’s now 4th and long.
SACK: Peppers gets to Bridgewater for the sack. He’s now 0.5 sacks behind Kevin Greene on the all-time list.
Scratch that... it’s changed to encroachment. 2nd and 5.
On 2nd down the Saints commit a false start. 2nd and 15.
The Saints will start at their own 25 after the touchback.
TWO MINUTE WARNING: Panthers 20 - Saints 0
TOUCHDOWN PANTHERS: Allen finds Ian Thomas in the endzone for six points. The XP is good. Panthers 20 - Saints 0
Allen scrambles but manages to pick up the first down. It’s 1st and goal.
It’s 3rd down deep in Saints territory.
The Panthers are in the red zone again.
The Panthers pick up the first down.
It’s 3rd and 1 after Allen escapes pressure but slides just short of the sticks.
The Panthers go for it and Jarius Wright picks up the first down!
Allen escapes pressure and fires to Moore, but it’s broken up by Apple. 4th down.
It’s 3rd and 7 after the Panthers waste first down to make sure there was no replay of that catch by Moore.
The Panthers quickly snap the ball to avoid any replay on that catch. (It was a catch, btw.)
Wow, what a catch by DJ Moore! Allen slings it down the field and Moore snags it on the sideline and picks up the first down.
It’s 3rd and 10 after two incomplete passes. The second one was funny because Ryan Kalil almost snapped it over Allen’s head.
Allen’s pass is incomplete but there is a flag on the field. It’s holding on the defense, which gives the Panthers five yards and an automatic first down.
It’s now 3rd down after CAP picks up a few yards.
Allen runs play-action and rolls out for a few yards. 2nd down.
Bridgewater throws into the endzone but it’s incomplete after Captain Munnerlyn breaks it up. The Panthers take over on downs at their own 10 yard line.
The Saints are going for it on 4th down.
And the defense gets the stop. It’s 4th down.
It’s 3rd and short again.
The Saints are in the red zone for the first time today.
And it’s another first down. Good throw by Bridgewater and good catch by Thomas. Not much the defense could do there.
Michael Thomas makes the catch but is tackled immediately by James Bradberry. It’s 3rd down again.
And Bridgewater picks up the first down after avoiding around 400 tackles.
It’s 3rd down. Come on, defense!
END OF FIRST QUARTER: Panthers 13 - Saints 0
It’s fun to see Peppers chasing the quarterback around. I’m gonna miss that.
Luke Kuechly’s not coming out for the Saints’ second drive. So his season ends with 130 tackles, an INT, 2 FF and a 6th straight Pro Bowl.— Bill Voth (@PanthersBill) December 30, 2018
Luke Kuechly appears to be done today as well.
TOUCHDOWN PANTHERS: CAP scampers for 15 yards and finds paydirt. The XP is doinked off the upright, though. Panthers 13 - Saints 0
Kyle Allen > Taylor Heinicke. Change my mind, y’all.
CAP picks up the first down on 2nd and 1. The Panthers are driving again.
It’s pass interference on Eli Apple and the Panthers have an automatic first down.
Allen throws deep to Curtis Samuel and it’s incomplete, but there’s a flag on the play.
It’s now 3rd down after CAP gets stuffed after a short gain.
The play is overturned on review and is ruled an incomplete pass. Panthers retain possession.
AJ Klein comes through the defense unblocked and forces a fumble on Kyle Allen, but it looks like his arm is moving forward. The Saints recovered it so it’s a turnover if they rule it a fumble. The play is under review.
CAP weaves his way through the defense to pick up another first down.
Alex Armah bulldozes through the defense to move the chains on 3rd and 1.
Christian McCaffrey's season is likely done after that first series.— Marcel Louis-Jacques (@Marcel_LJ) December 30, 2018
219 car., 1098 yds, 7 TD
107 rec., 867 yds, 6 TD
CMC appears to be done for the day. Cameron Artis-Payne in at running back now.
Moore calls for the fair catch at his own 11 yard line and that’s where the Panthers will start their second drive of the day.
It’s now 4th and 9 after a false start and it looks like they will punt.
The Saints are going for it on 4th down because this game doesn’t matter at all to them either way.
Bridgewater finds Taysom Hill on the swing pass but he can’t pick up the first down. 4th and 4.
Andrus Peat is now down with an apparent injury. This is bad for New Orleans.
It’s now 3rd and 7 after two less successful plays by the Saints.
Two quick plays by Ingram and the Saints are in Panthers territory.
Mark Ingram bullies his way through the defense for a big gain on first down.
TOUCHDOWN PANTHERS: Allen takes it himself on the quarterback sneak and scores! The XP is good! Panthers 7 - Saints 0
Allen finds Moore over the middle and he takes it into the endzone, but is ruled down juuuust short of scoring. It’s first and goal for the Panthers.
The Panthers are now in the red zone. 1st and 10.
The Saints could have a legit injury crisis soon. Sheldon Rankins went down a few plays ago and now Alex Okafor is down on the field.
CMC bulldozes his way forward for another first down. The Panthers are driving, y’all.
Hey, that was a nice play! Allen dumps it off to Christian McCaffrey and he picks up a big chunk of yards!
Aaand he’s now 5/6.
Allen finds DJ Moore for a first down! He’s 5/5 now!
And the game starts with a false start penalty on Chris Manhertz. Of course.
Kyle Allen is set to make his NFL debut today.
The Panthers lose the coin toss and will receive the opening kickoff.
The Panthers are on the road for the last time in 2018, and this week they will pay a visit to the Saints and try to salvage something out of this miserable end to a season that started with so much promise.
The Panthers are 6-9 after starting 6-2. The Saints are 13-2 and have home field advantage in the NFC wrapped up. This game will probably feature a lot of backups, but there should be enough hate between the two teams to at least make it entertaining to watch.
Here’s all the information you need to follow the action as it happens live.
Game day information
When: Sunday, December 23 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome (New Orleans, LA)
TV: FOX; Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Kristina Pink (Coverage map)
Radio: Panthers radio (local); Mick Mixon, Jim Szoke, Eugene Robinson, Kevin Donnalley
Spanish Radio: Panthers radio (local); Jaime Moreno, Luis Moreno Jr
Weather: 72°/65° / Thunderstorms / 8 mph SE wind / 80% precip. (Complete forecast)
Note: The weather report is for travel/tailgating purposes only. The weather will not affect the game because of the domed stadium.
You can download the official Panthers app to get live score updates during the game straight to your phone. Also, if you live in the NC/SC market you can listen to the live radio broadcast of every game with the app. You can find the Panthers app in your phone’s app store or you can download the app here.
FuboTV: You can stream and record live NFL games on FuboTV if you purchase a monthly subscription to their service.
NFL GamePass: You can stream all NFL regular season games on demand if you purchase NFL Game Pass*. It’s a little pricey at $99, but it also includes access to All-22 film. If you’re just desperate to watch the Panthers game there is a 7-day free trial, but sign up at your own risk if you’re one of those people who forgets to cancel before the free trial is over.
*Note: You cannot watch regular season games live with this option. You have to wait until after the games are over before you can stream them.
NFL Network will air condensed replays of a selected group of regular season games throughout the week. To see if/when the Panthers’ game will be replayed, you can check NFL Network’s television schedule for more information.
Roaring Riot Watch Parties
If you’re unable to watch the game via live tv or streaming, or if you prefer to watch in the company of fellow Panthers fans, check out the Roaring Riot to see if there is a watch party in your area. Membership is not required to get in the door, but if you’re interested in purchasing a membership you can find all the information you need here.
The Panthers will wear white uniforms for this game.
If you’re into that sort of thing, you can find info on NFL game odds by clicking here.
Stay tuned for a live update thread when the game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday!