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Three takeaways from Saints' win over Panthers

13 January 2018

And obviously, you don't just look at the games you played them. "The end of the game came down to the final series".

After the game, Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said he heard assistant officials trying to convey to the head referee that it was not grounding.

When it takes four seconds to decide whether to throw a flag on a blatant pass interference, in which the cornerback tackled the receiver by the ankles before the ball arrived, the officiating has to be questioned. Safety Mike Adams didn't get to Brees on blitzes on two TD throws. Carolina later had first down on the Saints 26 with 58 seconds left, but the drive ended when Vonn Bell sacked Newton to secure New Orleans' first playoff win in four years.

"I was showing pressure, me and the safety were showing pressure", he said.

"I feel like it was kind of taken away from us".

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"We had to fight to play next week", Saints defensive end Cam Jordan, who had a sack and tackle for loss, told Fox Sports.

Carolina (11-6) almost prevented New Orleans from staying alive in the postseason, turning a late interception of quarterback Drew Brees into a last-ditch effort to steal a victory on the road after twice losing to the Saints in the regular season.

Brees found wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., a former Panther, on an 80-yard touchdown pass with 1:46 to go in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead. "The ball was spread around quite a bit and guys were making plays when they had the chances". "We felt like we had a great game plan going".

At this time, Newton has yet to take a trip to the locker room, however, and exited the injury tent, staying on the sideline. Two SMU alums played a big role in the victory. While it's hard to beat a team three times (happens a little more than half the time), the Saints have the advantage in this matchup. Placekicker Graham Gano could have given the Panthers an early lead, but he missed a 25-yard field goal, just his second missed field goal this season. The pass was incomplete, but the Saints' Ken Crawley was called for pass interference.

"We lost. That's all I remember", Bell said.

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The Bills finished with 263 yards, with 119 of those coming from hobbled running back LeSean McCoy (ankle).

Drew Brees passed for 376 yards and two touchdowns for the Saints.

Saints running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, who combined for more than 3,000 yards from scrimmage this season, were held to 68 total yards. Newton got up and tried to reach the Panthers' sideline but fell to his knees on the way there. Panthers coach Ron Rivera offered a similar explanation. Newton, who was drafted first overall by Carolina in 2011, said after the game that he has a really good relationship with Richardson. Gano had a very eventful day that ultimately included four field goals - although the Panthers used him too much on field goals and not enough on extra points.

The Carolina Panthers got Drew Breesed Sunday, ending their season after a single playoff game. With AP Photos.For Saints coach Sean Payton and his players, the notion that their return to Minnesota in the playoffs fits the definition of a rematch is a bit of a stretch.

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Three takeaways from Saints' win over Panthers