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Panthers come back to beat Saints, clinch berth

Cam Newton, Curtis Lofton AP

Cam Newton might have played a few minutes of decent football all day.

But he picked the right few.

Newton led a last-minute touchdown drive to propel the Panthers to a 17-13 win over the Saints.

That improves them to 11-4, and clinches a playoff berth. They can wrap up the NFC South title and a bye with a win next week at Atlanta.

Newton found Domenik Hixon with a 14-yard touchdown pass with 0:23 left, capping a day when the passing games on both sides struggled in wet conditions.

Newton was 13-of-22 for 181 yards, with a touchdown and a pick.

But the Panthers battered Saints quarterback Drew Brees, sacking him six times and picking him off twice.

It was a remarkable comeback, considering they did it without wide receiver Steve Smith.

Smith left the game with a knee injury. A league source tells PFT it’s not considered to be drastic, but it was certainly enough to keep him out on a day when a third-quarter monsoon turned the field to mush.

But with a dwindling cast of targets, the Panthers needed their quarterback to lead them.

And though it was ugly at times, Cam Newtwon came up at the right time.

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41 Responses to “Panthers come back to beat Saints, clinch berth”
  1. Pittsburgh Steelers says: Dec 22, 2013 4:12 PM

    Keuchly is beastly.

  2. thundastormz says: Dec 22, 2013 4:13 PM

    The Aints needed one game to win division….BLEW DAT!!!! Go Panthers! The NFC South Champions! Ice up son and we will just Keep Pounding!

  3. pantfan89 says: Dec 22, 2013 4:14 PM

    HEY DREW! THATS YOUR EXPLANATION!!

  4. nfl4days says: Dec 22, 2013 4:14 PM

    Garbage. Lost EXACTLY the same way we did against NE. Done with this season. Saints arent doing Sh!t and dont deserve the division. Congrats panthers. Clearly the better team. Maybe its because their QB doenst have a strangle hold on the Cap.

  5. realfootballfan says: Dec 22, 2013 4:16 PM

    Cam Newton has definitely arrived. That was a clutch drive without Steve Smith on the field for him to go to, and Newton was pinpoint getting a TD in less than a minute.

  6. jakec4 says: Dec 22, 2013 4:17 PM

    Rivera goes from being a hot seat candidate to a coach of the year candidate in three months.

    The Saints are just a fraud outside of the cozy confines of their wuss dome.

  7. joestemme says: Dec 22, 2013 4:19 PM

    I give full credit to the Panthers — but the Saints are a disgrace to the NFL.

    For a team to look virtually unbeatable at home, but go 3-5 on the road AND score 13 points in a critical game is just plain embarrasing. A team that can put up 30 to 40 points at home without working up a sweat but lose to teams like the Jets and the Rams on the road (clubs they would club by 25 points at home, NO question is a wretched example of today’s offense first football. You can rip on the Lions and the Cowboys all you want (and, boy do they DESERVE it!), but the Saints are truly the most ignominous “good team” in the league right now.

  8. wallio says: Dec 22, 2013 4:22 PM

    Where are the haters now?

  9. beastnyg says: Dec 22, 2013 4:24 PM

    No need to demand an explanation here, Drew. Cam oh CAM!!!

  10. blacknole08 says: Dec 22, 2013 4:28 PM

    When Smitty went down, I cringed. When Jimmy Graham caught that TD pass, I was deflated. When we went 3 and out and punted with 2 minutes left (with 2 TO), I accepted defeat.

    BUT when Cam delivered ONCE AGAIN in the clutch, I shouted SUPERMAN!!!

    Now when we beat the Falcons next week, you all can call us NFC South Champs!!

  11. thegreatsantini56 says: Dec 22, 2013 4:29 PM

    Who is crying now? We not dat!

  12. skippynj says: Dec 22, 2013 4:29 PM

    Terrible play calling all day for the Saints who totally dominated this game.

  13. pgilbert2013 says: Dec 22, 2013 4:31 PM

    Seahawks… It’s time to kick a little Cardinals rump.

    Go Niners!!!

  14. bc1906 says: Dec 22, 2013 4:31 PM

    WHO DAT??? DAT IS LUKE KEUCHLY BABY!!!!

    All over the field. Who gets 24 tackles in a game anymore?? There are usually only about 60 plays!!! #unbelievable

  15. kenny2neworleans says: Dec 22, 2013 4:31 PM

    Saints didn’t deserve to win. Payton’s play calling is getting out of control. Enough already with the reverse. Everyone knows they’re coming. Throwing two straight passes from the 2 yard line, fake field goal, are you kidding me???

  16. slick50ks says: Dec 22, 2013 4:32 PM

    The aints are a one and done fraud.

  17. porkcarrot says: Dec 22, 2013 4:32 PM

    Remember kids, Cam Newton can’t win close games.

  18. itsdaweasel says: Dec 22, 2013 4:33 PM

    Great game between division rivals. Send the refs a fruitcake, Cam, they deserve it. Merry Christmas everyone.

  19. jh500 says: Dec 22, 2013 4:35 PM

    Newton has accounted for 89 TDs in just three years. All this Luck and Wilson talk, yet no one mentions Newton.

  20. gb4mn0 says: Dec 22, 2013 4:46 PM

    Congrats to the Panthers on securing a playoff spot.

    Congrats also the Minnysoda vikqueens for their 3rd double digit losing season in the past 4. Their 53 year history of irrelevance stays firmly intact.

  21. newjerseygiants says: Dec 22, 2013 4:49 PM

    Seeing that the Giants blow, I’ve officially become a Panthers fan for the rest of the season as of a month ago. Hope they win it all.

  22. sportfan2 says: Dec 22, 2013 4:49 PM

    With that defense I could QB the Panthers.

  23. pkaiser59 says: Dec 22, 2013 5:01 PM

    Who dat? Who dat? Who dat went and done beat dem Saints?

    OUR PANTHERS!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!! Playoffs, here we come!!!!! Keep pounding!!!!!

  24. maxl49 says: Dec 22, 2013 5:03 PM

    Great drive by Cam winning the game and demonstrating again that people not called Manning, Brady or Brees can be hit in the head !

  25. thegreatsantini56 says: Dec 22, 2013 5:04 PM

    The most important game is the next game. We wouldn’t want the Saints to back into it. All you have to do is win. It was kind of “Star Wars” like wasn’t it? I mean Luke defeated “The Evil Empire” without Yoda (Steve Smith), he just had to trust in the Force. Have a nice day.

  26. mrlaloosh says: Dec 22, 2013 5:05 PM

    Congrats Panthers. Your defense kept u in it long enough to win it.
    My Saints $100 million dollar QB & $8 million a year coach were out played and out coached.
    Looks like the NFC South will be a powerhouse with Panthers taking the lead and Saints, Falcons & Bucs chasing for the foreseeable future.

  27. egomaniac247 says: Dec 22, 2013 5:13 PM

    “Maybe its because their QB doenst have a strangle hold on the Cap.”

    Yea, go ahead and get rid of Brees and see how your team fares…

  28. realfootballfan says: Dec 22, 2013 5:23 PM

    Also, Luke Kuechly is the best LB in football. This guy is the linchpin of why that Panther defense, namely the front 7, is special in the mold of what Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher once were to their defenses.

  29. jason1980 says: Dec 22, 2013 5:26 PM

    Congrats to the Carolina Panthers from a Saints fan. Great game guys, you deserve the win. Now, go out there and bring home a Lombardi, because at the end of the day, that’s all that REALLY matters. WhoDat!

  30. nawlinssaints1956 says: Dec 22, 2013 5:34 PM

    Lighten up Francis, errrr thunda. The Panthers clinched a playoff spot, not the division. You can debate how the last two minutes played out, but the bottom line is Carolina won. Next week will be interesting; let’s play the games…

  31. akasaintsbaby says: Dec 22, 2013 5:35 PM

    Unexplainable how bad they are on the road vs. how they play at home.

    I agree with terrible play calling by Peyton. Ingram averaging 11 ypc and gashing the Panther defense every time he carries the ball? Brees struggling and getting knocked around like a pinball? Call more pass plays….brilliant!

  32. pilot2011 says: Dec 22, 2013 5:38 PM

    24 tackles and a pick is ridiculous.

    22 years old?!

  33. denverdude7 says: Dec 22, 2013 5:45 PM

    Color me impressed by the Carolina Panthers. A well played, well earned victory.

    That being said, Cam Newton needs to mature a little more and drop the Superman bit.

    Let your accomplishments speak for you Cam. We know you are a good player. There is no need for the theatrics anymore.

  34. redandgoldhitman52 says: Dec 22, 2013 6:28 PM

    wow that cardinal def is good. wilson is getting exposed

  35. cowboycjn says: Dec 22, 2013 7:01 PM

    Laughing at these “get on the wagon” Panthers fans. Funny just two weeks ago when the Saints Whipped the heck out of the Panters NOT ONE fan got on here and said “yep they beat us.” They just folded up into the night and didn’t mum a word. Now they are so glorious and strong to have beaten the Saints – what a bunch of dorks.

  36. carolinadude7 says: Dec 22, 2013 7:15 PM

    And what have you done cowgirlcjn? First win in dec?!? Congrats! Win a few more then talk on a real teams thread. Tears… Or go back to your locker room crying and hide your tears

  37. aceboogie1 says: Dec 22, 2013 7:35 PM

    2 CLAPS AND A RIC FLAIR !!!

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

  38. jigga757 says: Dec 22, 2013 7:52 PM

    watchin my saints crumble….SMMFH!!!! KUECHLY is a monster…inspiring football played by this dude…held carolina to 222 total yards and still cant win…the arz knocked off seahawks…Dont know which Bucs team gon show up but Saints betta TIGHTEN UP b4 Cards get in and they dont

  39. thundastormz says: Dec 22, 2013 9:26 PM

    Saints are beasts at home. Well below average away. If you don’t think there is something well beyond fishy there you are clearly blind. There’s going to be another X-gate soon enough to go with bountygate. Once a cheater always a cheater.

  40. peehergriphon says: Dec 22, 2013 11:46 PM

    Who Dat? Not a playoff team them Aints. Since Beatdown in Seatown, Saints got exposed.

  41. ilovefoolsball says: Dec 23, 2013 4:13 PM

    Congrats to the Panthers on a hard fought game. They made the plays that they had to in order to win the game. They were the better team. No excuses.

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