The Carolina Panthers entered the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to face off with the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 8, 2013, and it was a battle for NFC South supremacy. Both teams had a 9-3 record coming into the night, but the Panthers had an eight-game winning streak and the Saints were blown out last week. One would lead the division by the end of the night, and it wasn't going to be easy.
New Orleans proved to be too much as they ended Carolina's eight-game winning streak by thrashing the Panthers 31-13.
In the first quarter, the Saints offense seemed anemic and could do nothing again, but the Panthers were different. Carolina had two decent drives that both stalled in Saints' territory and they ended up with two field goals to go up 6-0 by the end of the first 15.
The second quarter was a different story.
Carolina had only allowed two first-half touchdowns all season, but the Saints managed three in the second quarter alone. Two scoring strikes went to Marques Colston and a third from Drew Brees went to Jimmy Graham to put the Saints up 21-6 by halftime.
After halftime, things slowed down a bit. The Saints had a good drive that almost ended in another Colston touchdown, but his knee came down half a yard short. New Orleans settled for a short Garrett Hartley field goal to go up 24-6, and then the Saints defense took over again.
Neither team could do much though, and the fourth quarter arrived with the Saints leading by 18.
Come the fourth quarter, the Saints' defense tightened up again and again as they hounded Cam Newton who was sacked time and time again by Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette. This allowed Brees to find Graham once again for another touchdown to put the Saints up 31-6 with less than 10 minutes left.
The Panthers finally got into the end zone thanks to a Newton to Steve Smith 17-yard pass with just about five minutes left in the game. That made it 31-13 and Carolina tried an onside kick, but it went right into the arms of the Saints Benjamin Watson.
Carolina was able to hold the Saints on that possession and get the ball back with less than three minutes to play. It was obvious that the Panthers really weren't going to try much from that point.
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