Saints march to 33-7 win over Panthers to lock up No. 2 seed in NFC

New Orleans Saints

Saints march to 33-7 win over Panthers to lock up No. 2 seed in NFC
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, right, talks with quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (Source: Gerry Broome)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WAFB) - Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes and the New Orleans Saints’ defense intercepted the Carolina Panthers five times and in the regular season finale in Charlotte, N.C. to take home the win and the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

The Saints (12-4) marched to a 33-7 victory over the Panthers (5-11). The win also means the Saints are the first team to sweep the NFC South (6-0). They will host the Bears in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, Jan. 10, at 3:40 p.m. on WAFB for the NFC Wild Card. The Saints beat the Bears, 26-23, in overtime back on Nov. 1.

Brees was 22-of-32 for 201 yards and three touchdowns. He had no interceptions. He completed passes to nine different players. He threw an 18-yard touchdown to tight end Jared Cook, an 8-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and found wide receiver Austin Carr in the end zone from 11 yards out.

The Saints rushed for 156 total yards without their regular active running backs. Ty Montgomery, who moved from wide receiver to running back, led the way with 18 carries for 105 yards. Taysom Hill added seven carries for 41 yards and a 3-yard touchdown run. He was hurt on a play and went to the locker room before the game was over. An update on his injury has not yet been provided. Tony Jones Jr., who was called up from the practice squad, had three carries for 13 yards.

Sanders finished with nine catches for 63 yards to lead the Saints wide receivers. It gave him 61 catches on the season. He earned a $500,000 incentive bonus with catch No. 60. Marquez Callaway had three catches for 51 yards. Cook caught four passes for 43 yards.

Malcolm Jenkins, Grant Haley, Marshon Lattimore, P.J. Williams, and Ken Crawley all had interceptions. It was Haley’s first game for the Saints. The defense also had three sacks. Two were by Carl Granderson and the other by Trey Hendrickson, who now has a total of 13.5 for the season.

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