Saints extend lead to 16-7 before halftime

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers
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The Saints are shorthanded in the backfield on Sunday, but they have still generated enough offense to take a halftime lead over the Panthers.

Drew Brees threw a pair of touchdown passes and Wil Lutz hit a field goal in the final seconds of the second quarter to extend the Saints’ lead to 16-7 before the break.

Brees was 13-of-16 for 144 yards overall in the first half and the Saints got one big play on the ground to set up his second touchdown pass. Ty Montgomery broke loose for a 36-yard gain and Brees hit Emmanuel Sanders a few plays later for the score.

Montgomery’s run came a few plays after safety Malcolm Jenkins picked off Teddy Bridgewater in the end zone and returned the ball past midfield. The Panthers also failed to convert a fourth down just outside the red zone before Lutz’s field goal, which accounts for two big swings that have hurt their chances of spoiling any chance the Saints have to win the top seed in the NFC.