Cam Newton embellished injury to buy time, Panthers admit

There simply can not have been many times during Brees's tenure in New Orleans that he has seen an opposing defense use such a stop-the-run strategy, particularly in a game of such significance.

But the Saints All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan spearheaded a late defensive stand to seal a 31-26 an NFC wild-card round victory. "We had to fight today to play next week". "He's Drew Brees. If you're gonna make him pass it and beat you, he will do it".

After the Vikings game, Lattimore, a first-round pick from Ohio State, said, "We had to do better with communication". They have all this stuff going on. Since then, the Saints have altered the way they use Kamara, a favorite for National Football League offensive rookie of the year. When Carolina regained possession, Newton returned to the field and guided the Panthers on their final two possessions.

The first part of the plan worked incredibly well. The longest run from scrimmage: a 7-yard run by Ingram.

It was a nail-biter to the end, but Saints fans erupted when it was over, and the Black and Gold came out on top.

That led us to Sunday's game.

Brees also has 329 career completions in the postseason, 10th in league history.

"It was great", Brees said of the celebration. "I thought maybe somebody stuck their finger in my eye, but I have a visor, so that can't happen".

Helped by the presence of tight end Greg Olsen - who did not play in the teams' previous two meetings - Newton marched Carolina into Saints territory more often than not. Michael Thomas led the team with 8 catches for 131 yards, while Ted Ginn Jr. added 4 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown along with 3 catches for 49 yards and a TD from Josh Hill.

Brees remained undefeated in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the playoffs as a Saint and after the first two drives of the game, was as good as he's ever been.

After taking a hard fourth-quarter sack, Newton dropped to his knees on the field before being evaluated in the medical tent on the sideline.

Brees wound up completing 69.6 percent of his passes (23-of-33), and a late-game interception on fourth-and-2 from Carolina's 47 merely served as a short punt.

Afterward, many on the Vikings alleged Saints players were trying to take quarterback Brett Favre out of the game. "(There were) a lot of loaded fronts, defensively.

Payton said he didn't think that the Panthers were testing Brees. Head coach Sean Payton ran onto the field to explain it to them, the officials who are paid to know the rules.

They both got their wish - as well as probably every other bookmaker in town - as the Tennessee Titans rallied to upset the Kansas City Chiefs 22-21 as 9-point road underdogs in Saturday afternoon's first game and then they received a bonus with the Atlanta Falcons knocking off the Los Angeles Rams 26-13 as 6-point road dogs in the nightcap. But it will give the Saints (11-5 in the regular season) a chance to redeem themselves after they started this season with an ugly 29-19 loss in Week 1 in the same U.S. Bank Stadium. "If you're rushing five, six, seven yards a carry, it becomes easier".

  • Julie Sanders