CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) — The Carolina Panthers lost to the New Orleans Saints 20-17 on Monday Night Football at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.
Behind WR Chris Olave’s six catches for 86 yards, New Orleans bested Carolina in the critical early-season NFC South matchup.
Panthers QB Bryce Young completed 22 of 33 for 153 yards and a touchdown, but it was not enough.
“They definitely got the best of us,” Young said. “So all the credit goes to them for that.”
The Saints’ first possession ended with a Frankie Luvu sack; afterward, Carolina drew first blood with a 52-yard Eddie Pineiro field goal on their first possession. 3-0 Panthers with 4:53 in Q1.
New Orleans’ offense responded with a 15-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard Blake Grupe field goal. Panthers LB Shaq Thompson was carted to the locker room with a shin injury during the series. 3-3, 0:36 in Q1.
Though the Carolina offense couldn’t get going, its defense stood strong in the red zone during the Saints’ ensuing series, forcing another Grupe field goal. 6-3 Saints with 9:52 in Q2.
The Panthers’ offensive struggles continued until half, which included a Carl Granderson strip-sack on Young that the Saints recovered.
Carolina’s defense continued to step up, as Luvu tallied his second sack in the half and S Vonn Bell picked off Derek Carr. 6-3 New Orleans at the half.
Young and the Carolina offense came out swinging, immediately putting another Pineiro field goal (54-yarder) on the board with their first drive. 6-6 with 9:09 in the Q3.
An unbelievable one-handed catch from Olave gave the Saints a huge momentum swing on their following series, eventually leading to a Tony Jones Jr. touchdown. 13-6, Saints with 2:56 in Q3.
Fighting back with time running out, the Panthers marched down the field but couldn’t reach the endzone. They settled for a third Pineiro field goal (36-yarder). 13-9, Saints with 5:30 in Q4.
It was no matter, though, as New Orleans’ dagger came off a 2-yard Jones run for a touchdown. 20-9, Saints with 3:14 in Q4.
A “garbage time” touchdown pass from Young to Adam Thielen made it closer, but a failed onside kick officially ended the game. 20-17, Saints win.
Carolina travels to Seattle next Sunday for a date with the Seahawks at 4:05 p.m. on CBS.