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(Sunday, November 7th)
Final Score: New Orleans 34, Carolina 3
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Drew Brees threw for 253 yards with two touchdowns, as the reigning Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints routed the Carolina Panthers, 34-3, at Bank of America Stadium.
Brees completed 27-of-43 passes and was intercepted once, while Jeremy Shockey caught a seven-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter, but suffered a rib injury on the play and did not return for New Orleans (6-3), which was coming off a 20-10 win over Pittsburgh last weekend and have now won three of its last four. Jimmy Graham pulled in a 19-yard touchdown for his first career score and Jabari Greer had a 24-yard interception return for a TD in the victory.
"I was pleased with our effort and our energy," Saints head coach Sean Payton said. "I thought we stayed on the field, converted third downs, thought we did a good job running the football, we did a good job defending the run. There were a lot of encouraging things."
Chase Daniel got some work in mop-up duty for Brees late in the fourth and did not have a passing attempt, but rushed for 16 yards on one carry.
Matt Moore completed only 3-of-6 passes for 13 yards before exiting with an injury to his throwing shoulder in the second quarter and did not return for the Panthers (1-7), who have dropped two straight after picking up their lone win of the season, a 23-20 decision over San Francisco.
"Right now, we're not very good offensively," Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox said. "I think losing our quarterback, losing a couple of backs didn't help matters."
Jimmy Clausen took over for Moore and threw for only 47 yards on 8-of-18 completions with a pick before leaving for Tony Pike, who connected on 6-of-12 passes for 47 yards.
Julius Jones ripped off a 54-yard run on the first play from scrimmage to put the Saints on the Carolina 26. After New Orleans picked up another first down, Brees' pass went off the hands of intended receiver Robert Meachem and Richard Marshall grabbed the carom and sprinted 66 yards the other way. The interception led to a 20-yard field goal by John Kasay.
New Orleans was forced to punt on its next possession, but got the ball back when Darren Sharper's big hit on Jonathan Stewart forced the running back to fumble and the Saints recovered on the Carolina 27. The play was upheld after a brief review. Stewart was then taken to the locker room with a head injury and did not return.
The turnover led to a Brees-to-Shockey seven-yard touchdown connection on 3rd- and-goal for a 7-3 Saints lead. Shockey was hit hard on the score by Charles Godfrey and did not return.
Kasay was off the mark on a 40-yard effort on the Panthers' ensuing possession, but New Orleans was unable to capitalize.
On the following Panthers series, Moore was sacked by Sedrick Ellis on third down and suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder. Clausen came in on the Panthers next drive, but couldn't generate any significant offense.
Brees and company went ahead 14-3 with 2:49 left in the half when the quarterback spotted Graham in the front corner of the end zone on a play- action pass for a 19-yard score.
The Saints tacked on 31-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley as time expired to the half and the visitors took a 17-3 lead into the intermission.
Hartley connected on a 36-yarder with 8:38 left in the third quarter that finished off an 11-play, 39-yard drive.
After an exchange of punts, Greer jumped the route on a ball intended for Dante Rosario and returned it for a 24-yard touchdown with under a minute to play in the third for a 27-3 game.
Ladell Betts finalized a 10-play, 52-yard drive on a one-yard touchdown plunge with 8:12 remaining to make it 34-3.
Panthers starting running back DeAngelo Williams missed his second straight game with a foot injury...Carolina running bach Tyrell Sutton (ankle) linebacker Dan Connor (hip) and defensive end Greg Hardy (head) also left early...New Orleans has a bye next week, while Carolina plays at Tampa Bay next Sunday...Despite the loss, Carolina still leads its all-time series with New Orleans, 17-15, and was swept in a home-and-home set with the Saints for the first time since the 2001 season.
11/07 18:39:04 ET