Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints come up short against Carolina Panthers

Posted by Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune December 28, 2008 11:48AM

John Kasay’s 42-yard field goal with one second on the clock gave the Carolina Panthers a 33-31 victory. Carolina drove 57 yards on seven plays for the game-winning score. The big play was a 39-yard pass to Steve Smith, yet another jump ball into double coverage that the Pro Bowl receiver came down with for a big gain. He finished with 134 yards on five catches.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees came up 16 yards short of setting the NFL season passing yardage record set by Dan Marino in 1984. Brees finished the season with 5,069 yards, second best in NFL history.
Because of a botched kickoff by Carolina the Saints got the ball with one second left. Brees tried to hit receiver Lance Moore with a pass that would have set the record but he bounced it into the Superdome turf.

“We’re trying to figure a way to put the ball in play and come up with a win,” Saints Coach Sean Payton said of the play.

Brees finished the day with 386 yards and four touchdowns and led the Saints back from a 30-10
deficit to a 31-30 lead. He was 30 of 49 but was sacked twice for 19 yards. He needed 402 yards to set the record.

“Obviouisly it’s a disappointing loss,” Payton said. “We had our opportunities but we couldn;t come up with big plays when we needed it.”

Panthers win on last-second FG (0:01, 4Q)

The chase is on (5:33, 4Q)

Amazingly, the Saints have fought back to within a touchdown. Lance Moore’s 9-yard touchdown reception has trimmed the Panthers’ lead to 30-24. Now the defense needs a stop. The Saints have just one timeout left so they can’t afford to give up more than a couple of first downs if they hope to get the ball back with enough time to challenge for the lead. It’s on the defense. One addendum: If the Saints do get the ball back, depending on where they get it, Brees is going to have a shot at Marino’s record. He needs 62 yards to set the record.

Brees passes 5,000-yard mark (5:38, 4Q)

Drew Brees might not catch Dan Marino for the NFL single-season passing yardage mark but he did reach another milestone. He became only the second quarterback in NFL history to pass for 5,000 yards. He reached the benchmark on a 15-yard pass to Billy Miller. He now has 332 yards, 72 short of Dan Marino’s record of 5,084 set in 1984.

Carolina extends lead (10:02, 3Q)

Well, it took two quarters, but that bomb to Steve Smith finally happened. Jake Delhomme fired a 54-yard bomb to Smith on the Panthers’ first drive of the third quarter and Jonathan Stewart capped the march with a 2-yard touchdown run. Panthers have regained control: 30-10. The Panthers are bullying the Saints on both sides of the ball. On the bomb, Smith beat double coverage by Jason David and Josh Bullocks. Both defenders were in position to make a play but, as has happened so often this season, neither did and Smith came down with the ball. It was a great catch but good defensive backs knock that ball down.
Saints show life (0:40, 2Q)
No one can accuse Marques Colston of packing it in. He just made a spectacular leaping 26-yard touchdown grab to keep the Saints within striking distance before halftime. Colston outleaped a pair of Panthers defenders to make the catch at about the Carolina 5, then kept his balance and trotted into the end zone. The touchdown came a few plays after Colston appeared to lose a fumble at the end of a long catch. But after a review, officials overturned the call on the field and ruled that Colston did not have possession with two feet down before the fumble occurred, thus giving possession back to the Saints. It was a 50-50 call and the Saints got a break on this one.

The rout is on (3:03, 2Q)

Before I could finish typing the note about Muhammad’s touchdown, the Panthers scored another one. Landon Johnson stripped backup return man Skyler Green of the football on the ensuing kickoff return and Dante Wesley scooped up the loose ball and rambled 12 yards for the touchdown. Any chance Green had of making the Saints’ roster next season might have just evaporated in the blink of that fumble. The Saints trail 23-3. The Panthers have scored two touchdowns in six seconds. The sellout crowd at the Superdome is shell-shocked.

Panthers taking control (3:09, 2Q)
This one is starting to get ugly. Chris Harris’ interception set up a short touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad. It’s now 16-3.
Field-goal fest continues (6:56, 2Q)

John Kasay might need to ice down his left leg after this game. He’s already kicked three field goals. His latest, a 34-yarder, gave the Panthers a 9-3 lead. The Panthers are controlling the line of scrimmage but the Saints have stiffened up some on defense. They’re tackling better and preventing the big play. Still, you get the feeling the Panthers are going to hit a big play down the field to Steve Smith soon. The running game is causing the Saints to cheat up on defense and leaving them vulnerable on the back end.

Saints answer with a field goal (12:35, 2Q)

The Saints finally put some offense together and marched down the field for a short field goal by Garrrett Hartley. Carolina is getting good pressure on Brees, but when he has time the Saints receivers are able to get open. Still, Carolina has come close to picking off a couple of passes already so the Saints better start balancing out the attack with some ground game. One other note: After starting the game and dropping a pass, Deuce McAllister has been relegated to the bench. It looks like the Saints are going with Mike Bell at running back for most of the carries with Pierre Thomas sidelined.

Panthers add another field goal (2:21, 1Q)

The Saints held Carolina to another field goal, this one a 26-yarder. The bad news is Carolina has established dominance along both fronts. They’ve rushed for 106 yards on their first two drives. The Saints, meanwhile, went three-and-out on their first drive. The good news is, despite all this, the Saints trail only 6-0. They are going to need to get their offense on track, though, because the defense is going to get worn down.

The pounding continues (5:19, 1Q)

The Panthers are just lining up and pounding the Saints’ defense. DeAngelo Williams ripped off a 30-yard run, then one play later his backfield mate, Jonathan Stewart ran through three Saints tackles en route to a 16-yard gain. All three Saints linebackers — Jon Vilma, Scott Shanle and Scott Fujita — missed tackles on the run. Williams already has 80 yards on six carries.

Panthers grab early lead (8:00, 1Q)

The Saints’ defense bowed up and held Carolina to a field goal on their opening drive. John Kasay, who seems to never miss, split the up rights from 45 yards. Still, it was a minor victory for the Saints’ defense. They expect to score touchdowns with their high-powered offense. The bad news is the Panthers were blowing the Saints off the line of scrimmage from the opening whistle. That’s not good this early in the game. Usually, the running game takes a while to take effect. This one looks like a shootout. Now on to Drew Brees’ chase at history.

Not a good sign (10:40, 1Q)

The Carolina Panthers have taken the opening drive and are marching right down the field on the Saints. Their line is blowing New Orleans off the ball. If this keeps up, it’s going to be a long day for the Saints. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have combined for 45 rushing so far.

Sleepy atmosphere (pre-game)

Maybe everyone is still in a post-holiday slumber, but there’s a decided lack of buzz to the game. Although things have picked up in the minutes right before kickoff thanks to an inspired rendition of the national anthem by local musician Theresa Andersson. Gov. Bobby Jindal was also on hand to participate in the coin flip. The house is full, though, so everything is in place for an exciting game.

One Response to “Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints come up short against Carolina Panthers”

  1. bruce hoffman says:

    Do you kow why the Saints called timeout with a few seconds on the clock before halftime when it was 3rd down, Carolina has the ball and only one more play could be run? carolna ran a play an almost broke it for a touchdown, but only got a long gain as time expired>
    But why the time out?