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    NFL Game Summary - Carolina at New Orleans



    (Sunday, January 1st)

    Final Score: New Orleans 45, Carolina 17

    New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Drew Brees threw for 389 yards to add to his single-season passing record, and the Saints used a dominant second half to earn a 45-17 victory over the Panthers on Sunday.

    However, despite all that, New Orleans wasn't able to secure a first-round bye for the playoffs. San Francisco held on to beat St. Louis on Sunday, 34-27, giving the 49ers the NFC's No. 2 seed.

    The NFC South-champion Saints (13-3) will be the conference's third seed and host the Lions in the first round next Saturday at 8 p.m. (et). They will enter the postseason on an eight-game winning streak, and will also have their record-setting quarterback in top form.

    Brees, who passed Hall of Famer Dan Marino on Monday for the NFL record, finished the regular season with 5,476 yards. He threw for five touchdowns Sunday, the third time this season he has done that, and was intercepted once while completing 28-of-35 passes.

    He also finished with the NFL's single-season records for completions (468) and completion percentage (71.2).

    Brees' records were among many set by the Saints this season. They recorded single-season marks for offensive yards (7,474) and first downs (417), while Darren Sproles set the NFL's single-season mark for all-purpose yards Sunday. He accumulated 168 and finished the season with 2,696, just passing Derrick Mason's mark of 2,690.

    "Obviously, last Monday night was a special moment," Brees said. "Today you just looked around and said, 'I don't know if any of us will ever be part of something like this again.'"

    Cam Newton closed out a strong rookie season by throwing for 158 yards and a touchdown on 15-of-25 completions, with one interception. He had already set the record for passing yards by a rookie in helping Carolina (6-10) to a four- win improvement from last season.

    "It was embarrassing how we finished that game; offensively, defensively, special teams, the whole nine yards. It was unacceptable," Newton said.

    The Saints were ahead by just a touchdown at halftime, but completely dominated the second half to secure the victory. After forcing the Panthers to punt on the opening possession, New Orleans moved 61 yards in six plays to score. Brees hit Jimmy Graham with a 19-yard touchdown pass over the middle to made it a 31-17 contest.

    Another Carolina punt preceded another Saints score -- this time a one-yard pass to fullback Jed Collins.

    Brees found Sproles for a nine-yard throw early in the fourth quarter, his final pass of the contest. With the Saints ahead by 28, Chase Daniel replaced Brees for the final two series.

    While New Orleans' offense was extremely successful in the second half, so was its defense. It limited Carolina to four punts and a fumble, a contrast from the first quarter, which the Panthers and Saints turned into a showcase of skills.

    On the opening possession of the game, Chris Ivory took a handoff up the middle, quickly shifted to his left and sprinted to the end zone for a 35-yard score.

    But the Panthers answered with an 11-play drive during which they didn't face a third down. Newton ended it with a perfectly placed touchdown throw to Steve Smith, who caught the 12-yard pass over his shoulder at the right edge of the end zone.

    However, New Orleans re-gained the lead on its next touch. Marques Colston needed to stretch across his body while he was in the air to catch Brees' pass to the back of the end zone. The 15-yard grab made it a 14-7 game with 2:50 left in the quarter.

    The second quarter provided more back-and-forth. Newton and Brees were both intercepted before Carolina's Olindo Mare and New Orleans' John Kasay connected on field goals. Mare made a 41-yard attempt, while Kasay kicked a 43-yarder with 2:42 left.

    Both teams also managed to score in the final minutes of the half. With 1:18 left, Jonathan Stewart scored on a 29-yard run after sprinting through a hole in the middle of the line and racing through the Saints' secondary before it had a chance to pursue him.

    But not to be outdone, New Orleans reached the end zone with seven seconds left. Brees pump-faked before airing out a long throw for Colston, who adjusted his steps near the goal line to make the 42-yard catch and send the Saints into the break with a 24-17 lead.

    Game Notes

    New Orleans gained 617 yards...Mason set the all-purpose yardage record in 2000 with the Titans...Colston finished with seven catches for 145 yards, while Graham had eight receptions for 97 yards. Ivory ended with 127 yards rushing...Stewart led Carolina with 79 yards.

    01/01 22:26:58 ET

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    Welcome to Great38 Tampa Bay WTTA-TV/DT - WFLA News Channel 8

    Welcome to Great38 Tampa Bay WTTA-TV/DT - WFLA News Channel 8

      St Pete pet shelter reminds about vaccination Video included

      Updated:

      Natalia Lima from Friends of Strays brought Vixen by the studio to remind us of the importance of vaccinating your pets. More>>

      • Great Stuff

      Pinellas deputy who broke up beach fight tells how he did it Video included

      Updated:

      Pinellas County Sheriff's deputy Sgt. Bryan Bingham went viral a few weeks ago when a video surfaced of him breaking up a fight on St. Pete Beach. More>>

      New centre opens doors to business women in Tampa Bay Video included

      Updated:

      Florida ranks fourth in the country for the number of women-owned businesses, contributing $77.4 billion to the state's economy. More>>

      Enter to win tickets to Nitro Jam

      The Great 38 is giving tickets to Nitro Jam. Enter below for your chance to win. More>>

      8 fun things to do in Tampa Bay this weekend | March 14-15 Video included

      Updated:

      See 8 fun events happening in Tampa Bay this weekend! More>>

      News Now: Charity Polo Classic Video included

      Updated:

      Every year, Morgan Auto Group hosts their annual Charity Polo Classic. It's an event unlike any other in this area.This year, it is taking place on March 21st and benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay and Children's Cancer Center. More>>

      Celebrating Music Education Spirit Week Video included

      Updated:

      We are celebrating kids who rock with Music Education Spirit Week! Lorri Naylor, a Lowry Elementary School teacher and a part of the Hillsborough County Elementary Music Educators Council, fills us in on the festivities.
      More>>

      USF 'Young Innovator' creates anti-bully band Video included

      Updated:

      Every year, USF holds their Young Innovator Competition, encouraging kids between kindergarten and 8th grade to invent something new or improve upon something that already exists. Meet Alexis Martin, this year's winner. The Anti-Bully Band she invented is her plan to stop bullying. More>>

      Tournament to honor Spring Hill firefighter

      Updated:

      In 2010, James Santella, a firefighter from Spring Hill, started having trouble putting his gear on. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
      More>>

      Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast 'Youth of the Year'

      Updated:

      Boys and Girls Clubs play a vital role in communities across the country. Here in the Bay Area, the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast serve as a safe place for local kids to learn and grow. Each year, they select somebody who promotes service to the club and shows strong moral character and academic success as their Youth of the Year. Recently, Kassindjaa Montague was given this honor. She sits down with Jenn to tell us her story. More>>

      Out and About
      Powered by WorldNow

      200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

      Telephone: 813.228.8888
      Fax: 813.225.2770
      Email: news@wfla.com

      Can???t find something?
      Powered by WorldNow
      All content © Copyright 2000 - 2015 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.