New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers match report: Drew Brees overcomes nervy start to record much-needed 28-10 win for Saints

Cam Newton was one of few positives for the Panthers who were booed off the field at half-time

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The Independent Online

Drew Brees overcame a shaky start and threw for one touchdown and ran for another as the New Orleans Saints defeated the Carolina Panthers 28-10 Thursday night to take over first place in the NFC South.

The Saints (4-4) piled up 375 yards to snap a seven-game losing streak on the road that dated back to last November.

Brees finished 24 of 34 for 297 yards and Mark Ingram turned in another solid performance with 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Brees threw an interception and fumbled in the first quarter before settling down late in the second and leading touchdown drives on four out of five possessions.

 

The Saints' defense sacked Cam Newton four times and forced two turnovers.

New Orleans pushed inside the Carolina 15-yard line on the game-opening drive before Brees' pass for Kenny Stills was deflected to Panthers defensive lineman Dwan Edwards for the interception.

Then, after the Saints forced a punt, Brees quickly pushed the Saints to midfield only to have Carolina's Charles Johnson push fullback Erik Lorig into him and knock the ball loose as he looked downfield for a fumble.

However, Newton and the Panthers couldn't take advantage and were forced to punt after both turnovers.

"It's hard when you don't take advantage of those opportunities," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said.

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Colin Jones sacks Drew Brees for a loss

The Saints didn't have the same problem on the next possession.

With the Panthers pinned back in their own end, Junior Galette sacked Newton from behind and stripped the ball, allowing linebacker Curtis Lofton recovered at the Carolina 3. Mark Ingram took advantage two plays later with a 3-yard run to give the Saints a 7-0 lead.

Then, after forcing a three-and-out, Brees directed an 85-yard drive that ended when he slipped a 1-yard pass just past Melvin White to Graham on the right side with 3 seconds left in the half and the Saints were off and running while the Panthers (3-5-1) headed to the locker room serenaded by a chorus of boos.

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New Orleans Saints running-back Mark Ingram reaches out for a touchdown

One of the few highlights for the Panthers came from Newton.

He turned in one of the most athletic plays of the season when he scrambled out of the pocket, raced around the left end and took off from the 5-yard line and soaring toward the goal line with the ball outstretched in his right hand for a touchdown, cutting the Saints lead to 14-7.

But Brees stopped any Carolina momentum when he led a 14-play, 80-yard drive that took more than six minutes off the clock.

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Cam Newton scores a running touchdown

Brees jumped forward and stretched the ball over the goal line on a fourth-down sneak to give the New Orleans Saints a 21-7 lead.

Ingram, who carried 30 times, added his second scoring run to seal the game in the fourth quarter.

The Panthers had won just one of their past six games coming in along with a tie at Cincinnati in Week 6, including falling at home last week to Seattle on a late touchdown.

The Saints, meanwhile, were 0-4 on the road this season.

AP

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