The New Orleans Saints hold off the Carolina Panthers to advance to a 31-26 opening round playoff win:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The New Orleans Saintsā€™ season will continue on after beating the Carolina Panthers 31-26 in the NFC Wild Card round. Drew Brees was extremely sharp in this match up throwing for 375 yards, 2 touchdowns, and only 1 interception. Believe it or not the duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram were ineffective in this contest. Kamara rushed for 23 yards and 1 touchdown, while Ingram finished with 22 yards. Carolina did a good job of containing those explosive running backs but Brees really stepped up when New Orleans needed it. Itā€™s so hard to stop the Saints offense because they have so many different ways to beat you and Brees will probably end up with the most yards ever thrown by an NFL quarterback. Two of New Orleans receivers went over the 100 yard receiving mark (Michael Thomas-131 yards, Ted Ginn- 115 yards and 1 TD). Sean Paytonā€™s team had the home crowd behind them and they fed off the energy all night long. Thatā€™s not to say that the Panthers didnā€™t make some magic happen. Cam Newton threw for 349 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions playing one of his better games of the year. Truthfully the lack of a running game hurt Carolina but the Saints couldnā€™t run the ball either. That turned this game into a quarterback showdown and Newton was just a little bit less effective than Brees on this night. Greg Olsen ended up bringing in 107 yards and 1 touchdown through the air. Christian McCaffrey showed he can be very dynamic out of the backfield as well he brought in 101 receiving yards and scored a crucial touchdown late in the fourth quarter. However the Saints would hold off the Panthers and the rest is history. The defensive stand outs were headlined by Vonn Bell who recorded 9 tackles and 1 sack for the black and gold. Cam Jordan recorded 3 tackles and 1 sack too. James Bradberry was the top defender for the Panthers he had 8 tackles. Shaq Thompson also had 8 tackles for Carolina but this defense couldnā€™t get enough stops down the stretch. New Orleans will now face the Minnesota Vikings next week in the divisional round. Minnesota is known for having a stellar defense so the the Saints will have their hands full.

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