Newton, run game leads Panthers over Saints
Charlotte, NC, United States (4E Sports) – Cam Newton threw a touchdown and ran for another to lead the Carolina Panthers to a 35-27 victory over the New Orleans Saints in their home opener Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.
Newton completed 14 of 20 passes for 253 yards and linebacker Jon Beason’s interception in the final minute helped the Panthers secure their first win and hand the Saints their first 0-2 start since 2007.
After a dismal 10-yard output last week, Newton sparked the Panthers running game with a career-high 71 rushing yards on 13 carries and scored a crucial five-yard touchdown run with nine minutes remaining to keep the Saints at bay.
Rushers DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert and Jonathan Stewart contributed a touchdown as the Panthers ran for 219 yards, completely outplaying their Saints counterparts who only had 163 ground yards.
The Panthers defense contributed on offense as well as safety Charles Godfrey returned a 9-yard interception for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Drew Brees, who was undefeated in previous five starts against the Panthers, completed 31 of 49 heaves for 325 yards and one score.
Brees also engineered a 12-play, 81-yard drive that he capped with a one-yard touchdown run in the last two minutes but his efforts went for naught as his pass on the final drive was intercepted.
For the second straight week, the Panthers gave up a touchdown on opening drive when Brees capped an 11-play, 80-yard drive with a short heave to wide receiver Jimmy Graham for a score.
Nine minutes later, the Panthers tied the count after Godfrey intercepted a pass by Brees and returned it for a touchdown but the Saints grabbed the lead anew after a 22-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley.
Hartley opened the second quarter with a 53-yard field goal but the Panthers took the lead for good, 21-13, after Newton’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Stewart and a short touchdown run by Mike Tolbert.
The Panthers grabbed their biggest lead, 28-13, after Williams scored on a three-yard run.