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.”

Game Recap

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.

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Carolina travels to Seattle next Sunday for a date with the Seahawks at 4:05 p.m. on CBS.

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