Saints use game winning field goal to snag first divisional win


Ryan Micklin, Sports Editor

At the age of 37, Drew Brees is still putting up gaudy numbers against NFL secondaries, and Sunday was no exception. Brees threw for 465 yards and four touchdowns against Carolina’s defense, and the win was capped off by a go-ahead 52 yard field goal from rookie kicker Will Lutz with 11 seconds remaining.

Brees’s 400 yard outing on Sunday was the 15th of his career; breaking a tie previously held with Peyton Manning for most all-time in the regular season.

The Saints dominated the first half as they got out to a 21 point lead and netted 304 total yards in the first two quarters alone. However, it wasn’t just the offense that played well in the first half; the Saints defense held Carolina to only 192 yards and 10 points.

Saints head coach Sean Peyton knew that there was a lot of football left to be played despite the Saint’s 24-10 lead going into the half.

“We knew at halftime that there was a lot of football left to play. The winner was going to have to make plays down the stretch,” said Peyton.

Things got interesting in the fourth quarter when the Saints’ defense fell apart and gave up 13 unanswered points as the Panthers cut the score to 31-30 entering the final 10 minutes of play.

Long-time Saint safety and former Carolina Panther Roman Harper said that the younger guys in the secondary made some mistakes but are getting better each week.

“We have to take everything as a learning experience. They’re growing at the right time,” said Harper. “The things that we are not doing right, we’ll continue to correct and we’ll be better in week 8 then we were in week 3, and thats the kind of attitude we gotta keep.”

Brees commanded an eight play, 75 yard drive that was punctuated by an incredible catch from Josh Hill in the back of the end zone, in which he pinned the ball against the defender’s helmet giving the Saints a 38-30 lead late in the game.

Nevertheless, Newton and the Panthers offense found a way to answer thanks to a 33 yard defensive pass interference penalty that was called on Saints defensive back Brian Dixon.

The penalty put the ball on the New Orleans two yard line and one play later Newton ran it in for a two yard touchdown. Down 38-36 and having to attempt a two point conversion, Newton completed a short pass to Devin Funchess that tied the game up at 38 with 2:58 left in the game.

The stage was set for Brees to lead the potential game-winning drive and he delivered. Brees completed eight of his nine pass attempts for 39 yards on the final possession, setting up rookie kicker Will Lutz for the game-winning 52 yard field goal that gave the Saints a 41-38 lead with 11 seconds remaining.

“It’s tough to explain how it felt; it’s still kind of a blur for me. I saw it go in and didn’t really see anything else,” said Lutz.

“He’s got the the moxy and all those things you look for in a good kicker. I said it after the first week and I’ll say it again, I like his makeup. He’s got mental toughness,” said Peyton.

With the win on Sunday, the Saints capture their second straight victory and advance to (2-3) on the season while the (1-5) Carolina Panthers lose their fourth consecutive game.

While the 33 year-old veteran didn’t play much in Sunday’s win, Harper received the game ball after the victory on Sunday for his leadership off the field, according to ESPN’s Mike Triplett.

“Like I told the guys, we are trending up. We just got to keep going. Don’t take anything for granted,” said Harper. “Just come to work everyday with the right type of mentality and attitude and whenever we’re at work, lets work. I think we’re going to do a great job of that as we continue going forward.”

The Saints will look to capture their third straight victory when they travel to Kansas City to take on the (3-2) Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Oct. 23.