Rivera told Panthers it was their own fault Saints ran up score last year

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The Panthers got a measure of revenge against the Saints on Sunday, beating New Orleans after the Panthers believed the Saints ran up the score — and the stats — against the Panthers in Week 17 of the 2011 season.

But coach Ron Rivera said after the game that there was no sense of revenge at work, despite some frustration expressed by Panthers players in the days leading up to the game.

“The truth of the matter is,” Rivera told me after the game by phone, “it’s our fault.  We let them score those points.”

Rivera was encouraged by the fact that the Panthers managed to close out a close game in the fourth quarter, something they had trouble doing in 2011.  He also said that it was more important to avoid going 0-2 than it was to merely beat the Saints, especially since they would have been 0-2 both in the standings and in the division, following last weekend’s loss at Tampa.

Now, the Panthers have to get ready for a Thursday night visit from the New York Giants.  To pull off the win, they’ll need to run the ball like they did against the Saints.