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Panthers 33 Saints 14: Three plays to love, three plays to hate

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These key plays swung momentum and decided the Panthers 33-14 road win against the New Orleans Saints, finalizing Carolina’s 2018 record at 7-9.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

These key plays swung momentum and decided the Panthers 33-14 road win against the New Orleans Saints, finalizing Carolina’s 2018 record at 7-9.

Plays to Love, Plays to Hate (aka “P2L, P2H”) looks at the most significant plays in swinging momentum and impacting the eventual outcome of the game. There is always plenty to hate about NFL officiating, so we will only focus on the plays on the field, not the refs.

Three plays to love

1st Quarter 2:14 – Panthers 7, Saints 0. Panthers ball 1st-and-10 at NO 15

The Situation: Behind third-string quarterback Kyle Allen, the Panthers jumped out to a 7-0 lead and were once again in the red zone.

The Play: While Carolina’s offensive line has been shaky all year, all five of them get a “Play to Love” for their superb run blocking on Cameron Arits-Payne’s 15-yard touchdown. Tyler Larsen pulled from right to left to form a wall with Ryan Kalil and Chris Clark. Greg Van Roten pulled from left to right to seal the defensive tackle, allowing Taylor Moton to get to the second level and eradicate a linebacker. The perfect blocking allowed CAP to go up the middle then cut left to avoid the safety for a touchdown and a 13-0 Panthers lead. Excellent execution from the hog mollies.

2nd Quarter 8:16 – Panthers 13, Saints 0. Panthers ball 3rd-and-10 at CAR 20

The Situation: I’m lumping three “Plays to Love” into one on the Panthers impressive 16-play scoring drive which culminated with an Ian Thomas touchdown and a 20-0 lead.

The Play(s):

  • On 3rd-and-10 at the CAR 20, D.J. Moore ran a stutter-and-go route down the left sideline against Marshon Lattimore, one of the league’s better cornerbacks. Kyle Allen threw a perfect bomb while Moore adjusted in air to haul in an incredible 35-yard gain.
  • On 4th-and-7 at the NO 39, Jarius Wright deftly snagged a shoestring reception for an 11-yard catch and run.
  • On 3rd-and-10 at the NO 18, Kyle Allen saw the pocket breaking down and bolted toward the left sideline. Showing surprising quickness, he scrambled 11-yards for the first down to extend the drive. On the next play Allen hit Thomas for a score and a 20-0 lead.

3rd Quarter 3:55 – Panthers 23, Saints 0. Panthers ball 1st-and-10 at CAR 47

The Situation: After two three-and-outs to start the third quarter, the Panthers offense was stagnating until Curtis Samuel did his thing.

The Play: Samuel ran a deep post route and just flew by the corner and safety. Kyle Allen delivered a perfect bomb for a 53-yard touchdown and a 30-0 Panthers lead.

Three plays to hate

1st Quarter 2:14 – Panthers 13, Saints 0. Panthers extra point

The Situation: Carolina scored on its second possession to jump out to an early 13-0 lead. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers castoff Chandler Catanzaro lined up for the extra point.

The Play: As befitting the 2018 Panthers, just when it seemed things were looking up the backup kicker doinks an extra point off the upright for a miss.

3rd Quarter 14:20 – Panthers 23, Saints 0. Saints ball 2nd-and-8 at NO 27

The Situation: The Saints received the ball to start the second half, trailing 23-0.

The Play: On the second play of the third quarter, David Mayo came up the middle on a blitz and got to Teddy Bridgewater for an apparent sack. Oddly, Mayo seemed to just bounce off Bridgewater and the Saints QB threw an 11-yard gain for a first down. As a backup, Mayo needs to make these kinds of big plays when given the opportunity.

4th Quarter 12:42 – Panthers 30, Saints 7. Panthers ball 3rd-and-10 at CAR 25

The Situation: Undrafted rookie Kyle Allen had been playing exceptionally well in his first NFL start as he led the offense into the fourth quarter.

The Play: On 3rd-and-10 the Saints defense sent more rushers from Allen’s blindside than could be blocked. Defensive end Marcus Davenport came untouched and drilled Allen as he released his pass. All of Davenport’s 265 pounds came crashing down on the Panthers QB, injuring his shoulder and ending his feel-good outing.

Closing it out and summing it up

Question: Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?

Answer: We dat! We dat!

Ah, I love beating the Saints in New Orleans. I don’t care that this meaningless win will harm the Panthers 2019 draft position. It’s totally worth it to me. Football is entertainment and there has been virtually nothing entertaining about the last two months. The Kyle Allen experience was entertaining. D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel were entertaining. Punching the Saints (backups) in the mouth was entertaining. Heck, even Captain Munnerlyn was entertaining in this one!

The reason I don’t care much about dropping in the 2019 draft is well documented as the benevolent dictator of Trade Down Island. The draft is largely educated guesswork. If you trust your general manager and scouts to nail the pick at No. 10, then you should trust them to nail No. 16. The Panthers roster will have tons of holes to fill next year and Carolina should be fine drafting where they are.

And thus ends one of the weirdest and most disappointing seasons in Panthers history.

Plays to Love season leaders

7 - D.J. Moore

6 - Christian McCaffrey

3 - Cam Newton, Chris Clark, Greg Olsen, James Bradberry, Kyle Love, Ryan Kalil

2 - Curtis Samuel, Devin Funchess, Efe Obada, Greg Van Roten, Ian Thomas, Jarius Wright, Luke Kuechly, Taylor Heinicke, Torrey Smith

1 - Ben Jacobs, Chris Manhertz, Colin Jones, David Mayo, Donte Jackson, Eric Reid, Graham Gano, Julius Peppers, Kawann Short, Kyle Allen, Mario Addison, Michael Palardy, Norv Turner, Ron Rivera, Taylor Moton, Thomas Davis, Tyler Larsen, Wes Horton

Plays to Hate season leaders

6 - Cam Newton

5 - Eric Reid, Mike Adams

4 - James Bradberry

3 - Captain Munnerlyn, D.J. Moore

2 - Christian McCaffrey, Devin Funchess, Dontari Poe, Donte Jackson, Eric Washington, Graham Gano, Norv Turner, Ron Rivera

1 - Amini Silatolu, C.J. Anderson, Chandler Catanzaro, Chris Clark, Colin Jones, Corn Elder, David Mayo, Ian Thomas, Luke Kuechly, Taylor Moton, Thomas Davis, Trai Turner, Special Teams - Kick Coverage


Which play to love had the biggest impact on the Panthers win?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    1st Q - Superb blocking leads to CAP’s touchdown
    (16 votes)
  • 40%
    2nd Q - Multiple Plays to Love lead to 16-play touchdown drive
    (51 votes)
  • 46%
    3rd Q - Curtis Samuel’s 53-yard touchdown
    (59 votes)
126 votes total Vote Now