Published: Mon, January 08, 2018
Medical | By Josefina Yates

Saints defeat the Panthers 31-26, advance to NFC divisional round

Saints defeat the Panthers 31-26, advance to NFC divisional round

The Saints beat the Panthers for the third time this season to advance to the divisional round.

They will head to Minneapolis next Sunday to take on the Minnesota Vikings (13-3).

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints snuck past the Carolina Panthers 31-26 Sunday, setting up a divisional round matchup with the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium for January 14.

Cam Newton drove Carolina to a first down at the New Orleans 21, but after an incompletion he was pressured and called for intentional grounding.

Brees completed 23-of-32 passes for 376 yards and two touchdowns, and looked like a former All-Pro and former Super Bowl winning quarterback, coming through big in the big moment.

Another Gano field goal, this one from 29 yards, cut the Saints lead to 21-12 early in the third quarter. Although he was knocked out for one play during the fourth quarter after being poked in the eye, Newton was able to return following medical evaluation.

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Newton's 56-yard touchdown pass to Christian McCaffrey cut the Saints lead to 31-26 with just over four minutes to play.

Newton was outstanding in Carolina's narrow defeat, passing for his second-most yardage in any game this season while committing no turnovers.

Completions to Devin Funchess and Kaelin Clay gave Carolina a first down at the New Orleans 26.

Brees simply riddled a Panthers defense that seemed prep to stop the run with a littany of precision passes and, although he held the ball longer than he usually does, Carolina's vaunted pass rush couldn't get home.

The Saints scored on their ensuing possession, and Newton returned to the game with the Panthers trailing 31-19 with 5:08 remaining. Brees was 7-7 on the drive.

Gano kicked a 39-yard field goal before Zach Line ran 1 yard for a touchdown for the Saints.

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