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Panthers beat Saints to leave both teams 7-9

Ron Rivera AP

The Saints know they’re getting their coach back next year. The Panthers can’t be sure of that yet.

Both teams finished the season 7-9 after a 44-38 Panthers win in the Superdome, a back-and-forth affair which featured 971 yards of combined offense.

Now when suspended and extended coach Sean Payton returns, he’ll have to fix a defense that gave up the most yards in NFL history.

For the Panthers, it was their fourth straight win to close the season, their fifth in the final six games under coach Ron Rivera. Of course, that means they started 2-8.

The Panthers got a huge swing on a disputed fumble by tight end Greg Olsen. While it appeared to have been recovered by the Saints, officials said after looking at it there was no clear recovery in bounds. That was part of a run of 28 unanswered points for the Panthers, helping them pull away late.

Now they have to wait to see what their future holds.

They know they’re looking for a new general manager, and the status Rivera remains up in the air. He’s 13-19 in two seasons, and taking a knee late allowed him to move his record to 2-12 in games decided by a touchdown or less. Many of his wins lacked pertinence (they won four of their final six last year), but the Panthers didn’t quit on him.

It’s up to Jerry Richardson to decide whether that means anything now.

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21 Responses to “Panthers beat Saints to leave both teams 7-9”
  1. panthersmatt04 says: Dec 30, 2012 5:00 PM

    The Panthers looked like they were playing their hearts out for Rivera against the Saints today, when most teams in their position would have quit long ago. You can’t blame Rivera for tying up about $75million in 2 RB’s, then turning around and adding a 3rd RB on top of it. GM Hurney really made some bonehead moves before he was fired, and you can tell the difference since he’s been gone. I hope Jerry Richardson gives Ron Rivera one more year to see what they can do. To go from 2-8 to finish 7-9 speaks volumes to the way the players responded to the changes Rivera implemented after Hurney’s dismissal. Although it may not seem much on the surface, you cannot say he ever lost the team. A brand new head coach tied to a brand new quarterback will both go through growing pains and adjustments in their first years, and in my mind to see the way they both made the appropriate (and correct) adjustments down the stretch go a long way to show what this team is capable of. A few holes to fill in through the draft, and possible free agency; and I believe this team will be at least first round playoff caliber in 2013. That being said, playoffs or bust for Rivera in 2013…

  2. panthersmatt04 says: Dec 30, 2012 5:02 PM

    And kudos to Cam for setting another record today! Most passing yards in the first two years in history.

  3. mwm367 says: Dec 30, 2012 5:04 PM

    A sweep of the saints is so sweet! They are a bunch of sneaky cheaters. Bring back the paper bags cause the ‘aints are back.

  4. west2south2east2north says: Dec 30, 2012 5:05 PM

    Well Panthers fans, I see some of you are already celebrating that you have beat us twice this year in a meaningless season for both teams. That’s cool! We’ll take the higher draft pick to compliment our head coach’s return next season. Congratulations! 2013 playoffs here we come. Go Saints!!!

  5. jhorton83 says: Dec 30, 2012 5:10 PM

    Rivera is great at winning games that don’t matter. Not so great when the game actually means something.

  6. ak18346 says: Dec 30, 2012 5:27 PM

    For those of you that think Ron should go then I am sorry that you haven’t been around to watch other good and great coaches grow. Coach Rivera and staff has done a lot with what they gave him. 2 years with 16+ players on IR, CB that wouldn’t play on most teams and a D line that is made up of a Hodge pogue of late round quality player. I AM PROUD of the work this coaching staff done with the players they had. We will make some big changes this off season starting with a new GM and some contracts redone along with if we are lucky some trades. MR. Richardson PLEASE give the staff one more year and a couple of key players and we can play with anyone and win the big one!

  7. noring4youstill says: Dec 30, 2012 5:31 PM

    Oh the highlight of a terrible franchise. Beating the Saints twice in 1 year. Congrats get the bottles popping.

  8. bryancroley says: Dec 30, 2012 5:38 PM

    Ron Rivera has earned one more year with the strong finish on this season. If the Panthers are unable to start next season the way they finished the last two seasons, he could be the first coach out the door in 2013 before the season has even concluded.

  9. the1bigbird says: Dec 30, 2012 5:43 PM

    Saints are not the proud owner of the worst defense in NFL history. Breeze never protected his defense because he is a statman. If the saints ran the ball, which they do well, the defesne could have avoided this shame. But Breeze wants his stats and N.O. has always been able to work around the shame factor.

  10. panthersmatt04 says: Dec 30, 2012 5:53 PM

    west2south2east2north:

    Talk all the smack you want, ‘Aints fan, but you absolutely can’t blame your bad season on missing your head coach… It’s simply what happens to dirty teams when they get caught being dirty.

    To bolster my point, the 2012 Colts… Rookie QB, brand new team, and missing their head coach due to a legitimate, life threatening disease; and they still found a way to make the playoffs FOR their coach, not missing the playoffs despite their head coach…

  11. cuda1234 says: Dec 30, 2012 6:11 PM

    And once again, Drew Brees throws the ball on every play, puts up huge numbers and loses.

  12. the1bigbird says: Dec 30, 2012 6:19 PM

    Breeze should get some credit for being more concerned about his stats than the welfare of the defense. Breeze is a me first player, throw it every chance you can. He holds out for more money during the roughest offseason of the franchise. When leadership was asked for Breeze opted for the check. Hey Breeze the saints fans need an explanation.

  13. mwm367 says: Dec 30, 2012 7:34 PM

    Paper bags, ‘aints fans. Paper bags. The cellar is waiting for you.

  14. delhommed says: Dec 30, 2012 9:08 PM

    How about a thumbs up for DeAngelo Williams? He is pretty good. Rivera should be fired for wanting to bench him in favor of Stewart! Stewart is ok but always hurt. Jerry, do you really want to get rid of the Memphis Maniac for a running back that has been injured since he got in the league? Please give us a chance, keep Williams and Rivera… TRADE STEWART for a draft pick!

  15. Dave61548 says: Dec 30, 2012 11:46 PM

    What a bunch of tools there are posting here. No one, not even the NFL and their fabricated story, called the Saints cheaters – that’s just words from a hater.

    So the Saints have one down season and all the “aints” talk comes out. Pretty pathetic to claim a team is going down the tubes after one bad season. A 7-9 season after dealing with the most ridiculous overblown penalties in the history of the NFL is not what the Saints nor their fans were expecting, but it could have been worse – a Saints player could have put out a full page newspaper ad claiming they were going to win the SB.

    At least have a LITTLE class, Panther fans.

  16. vtopa says: Dec 31, 2012 1:45 AM

    Dear Panthers fans, congrats on sweeping the Saints this year. Just one question…which team do you think will have the better record and be more likely to challenge for a Superbowl next year?

    Huh? What’s that? Can’t hear you….

  17. youcantquitmebaby says: Dec 31, 2012 9:59 AM

    In regards to the Olsen fumble, one of the officials blew a whistle before the ball was recovered by the Saints. My DVR confirmed this. So how can they challenge possession when the play was blown dead?

  18. finleye says: Dec 31, 2012 12:21 PM

    Saints fans asking us for a little class? smh…

  19. jgedgar70 says: Dec 31, 2012 12:22 PM

    Dave61548 says:
    Dec 30, 2012 11:46 PM

    At least have a LITTLE class, Panther fans.
    _____
    That’s the best joke I’ve heard all year. While the NFL was unable to successfully prove that players were paid bonuses for injuring players, they did clearly establish that the Aints have a culture that encourages injuring players. Or do you think that audio of Gregg Williams saying “go for the head” 3 times before the Frisco playoff game is a fake? The Aints represent everything that is evil.

  20. jgedgar70 says: Dec 31, 2012 12:29 PM

    As for Rivera and the team, I think winning the Atlanta game sealed Rivera’s return for ’13. We should have been 9-7; we had no business losing at Atlanta or at home vs. Tampa. Deflect that long bomb in Atlanta, and deflect that 2-pointer vs. Tampa and we’re 9-7. Those are 2 plays Rivera couldn’t do anything about.

    We have to keep Rivera to keep the coordinators. Chud came into the year with a severely swelled head after all the praise he got for last year. Once he realized defenses had adjusted and he was not the second coming of J.C., he adjusted and Cam and the offense were excellent the second half. McDermott is nothing short of a miracle worker for getting this collection of personnel into a position to keep us from losing games. For the first time, Greg Hardy is actually an NFL player. Kuechly should be defensive ROY (even though he’s not going to win it). So we need to keep those coordinators. That means keeping Rivera.

    But make the leash very short. If we start 1-6 again, fire him immediately.

  21. Dave61548 says: Jan 2, 2013 7:36 PM

    @jgedgar70 – The NFL didn’t prove ANYTHING! The GW “go for the head” comments are pretty standard stuff in football locker rooms. In fact, there is photographic evidence of that exact phrase being used by the Chiefs when Herm Edwards was coach. If you still refuse to believe that this was locker room trash talk, look up the box score for that game – the Saints had ZERO penalties. Tough to pull that off if you are intentionally trying to hurt someone.

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