Rats! Brees throws incomplete. Final score: Panthers 33, Saints 31. Brees falls 16 yards short. Wow.
Kasey kicks it out of bounds at the Saints 40! Will the saints throw a hail mary or do the hook and ladder? Crazy!
Bang! Kasey is money from 43 yards out. One second left. 33-31 Panthers. The only drama left is can the Saints kneel on the ball to set up a Brees record. Are they even thinking that way?
Two minute warning: Atlanta takes the lead 31-37 with under 4 minutes left, but the Saints are looking at about 4 more yards to put John Kasey in long field goal range (53 yards). Unless Carolina scores quickly, Brees will not get a chance at the record. New Orleans has just one timeout left.
When in doubt, throw it up to Steve Smith! He outjumps Jason David for a 39-yard grab at the Saints 43.
The New Orleans Saints have taken the lead! Brees hits Moore over the middle for a 13 yard score. Brees is now 16 yards from the record. Will he get a chance to break the mark. Meanwhile, Atlnata trails St. Louis will under 6 minutes left in the Georgia Dome, 27-24. Can the Falcons blow this chance? will the Saints keep this lead? 31-30 Saints.
Brees makes a gorgeous throw down the sidelines to Colston to the Carolina 13.
And the Panthers have to punt. And a shanked punt is bad! The Saints take over at the Carolina 45. That means Brees cannot throw for the record on this drive alone. Wow! What a weird scenario.
SACK. Scott Shanle comes unblocked off the edge to crush Delhomme. The Panthers are facing a 3rd and 14 from their 24. John Fox calls timeout with 4:15 to go. He may end up needing that one with the way Brees is going. There is a buzz in this place.
Brees amassed 106 yards passing on that one drive thanks to penalties.
Touchdown, Saints! Lance Moore converts the 3rd down on an out route...and breaks a tackle to score. Brees is 61 yards away from Marino's mark. The Saints are 6 points away from the Panthers. 30-24 Carolina with 5:33 left.
Brees has 5,015 yards on the year. He is just the 2nd QB in NFL history to eclipse that mark.
A free down for Brees on 3rd-and-21 thanks to an offsides by Carolina results in a tough drop by colston at the goalline. Brees finds Meachem on 3rd down to set up 4th and 3 at the Panthers 10. Ball game on the line here.
Death, taxes, and a Jammal Brown holding penalty. Now Drew could rack up over 100 yards passing on this drive alone.
A second big third down conversion by Brees. He avoids the blitz to find Colston.
Here we go. Pass, pass, pass...Saints are on the move. A Billy Miller false start has given Brees a shot at 95 yards passing on this drive.
A Saints comeback and a Brees record now go hand-in hand. Drew has 240 yards right now. Two long drives by New Orleans through the air will give Brees a shot.
It's not over yet. The Saints get a stop. A false start penalty was key in keeping Carolina out of field goal range. Now the Saints have a chance down 13 but have to go 90 yards on this drive. 10:07 left.
Another example of bad clock management by the Saints. They burn their first timeout on defense with 13:49 to go in the game after a Carolina first down. Why? I think they might wish they had that timeout later..if they're lucky enough to stay in this game much longer.
Touchdown Saints! Drew Brees hits Meachem on a swing pass for an 7 yard score. It keeps this game alive. Now, can New Orleans stop Carolina's running game? 10-plays, 69-yards on the drive. 30-17 Panthers.
End of the 3rd quarter: A nice going away gift for the fans as McAllister has been prominent on this drive. Deuce sets the Saints up with 1st-and-goal thanks to another power run on 3rd down. 30-10 Panthers.
DEUUUUUCE on 3rd and 1. A fun sight for the fans to enjoy for just one more day.
Holy moley. John Kasey misses a field goal from 42 yards out. Ken Trahan is sitting next to me. He calls it the turning point to a rousing Saints comeback win. You heard it here first. FYI, no booze allowed in the press box. In case you were wondering.
The Saints gain one first down, but it's punt time now. This game is pretty much over.
Touchdown Panthers. Jonathan Stewart steals a tocuhdown from DeAngelo Williams (yes, I am biased) to turn the game ugly again. Brees will be a throwin' alright. But can the one-dimensional Saints keep him off his back? 30-10 Panthers.
The Saints safeties stink. Josh Bullocks was backpeddling while Steve Smith was sprinting for a long Delhomme throw. First and goal for Carolina at the Saints 6. And another playaction pass set up by Carolina's dominant running game.
You knew Julius Peppers would make his mark at some point. Brees is sacked by the All-Pro on third down. Saints will punt, and the Panthers will run, run, run.
Huge third down conversion for New Orleans as Brees avoids the blitz to hit Devery Henderson.
Lance Moore lacks just one thing - height. A long Brees pass to Moore is just a tad too high. The Saints must score points on this drive.
At the half, what can you say? New Orleans is facing a superior team. Carolina is better on both sides of the ball because they can stop the run and run it down opponents' throats. Brees has 137 yards through the air. The Saints trail, so he will have more in the second half, but 265 is not a number he will reach against this team. The Panthers had nearly 20 minutes in time of possession in the first half. I don't see the Saints changing that trend today. And that means not enough bullets in Brees' chamber to reach the mark. 23-10 Carolina.
Bad throw - GREAT catch. Touchdown Saints as Colston make a leaping grab in double coverage and runs into the end zone. The 9-play, 80 yard drive keeps this game competitive. 23-10 Carolina.
Wow again. The official review has called the pass incomplete. I don't see it. Call it a reprieve for New Orleans - 3rd-and-9 from the Panthers 36.
Wow...when it rains, it pours. Marques Colston makes a grab down the seam inside the Panthers red zone - and fumbles. Carolina recovers. It looked like a catch and fumble to me, but the play will be reviewed.
A screen pass to Deuce is wiped out by a Billy Miller hold. Another 1st-and-long for the Saints.
Brees only has 47 yards passing. That will change.
It is officially ugly. Green is stripped on the kickoff return after the ill-fated choice to return the kick from 5-yards deep in his endzone. Dante Wesley brings back the fumble for a 12-yard score. Ouch - especially for Green. The former LSU star has likely seen all of his positive momentum for a spot on the '09 roster disintegrate. 23-3 Panthers.
And the band played on...Delhomme hits Muhammed for a 8-yard score. Funny how effective playaction was on that play. Of course, Carolina is on pace for another 300 yard rushing day. The Saints have 3:09 to respond. They need a TD or this game gets ugly. 16-3 Panthers.
As I was saying...Brees is picked off by Chris Harris after an awful throw over the middle on 3rd-and-long. It's another one of those "what were you thinking" interceptions for a guy who is too smart to make those kinds of mistakes so frequently.
MVP? Hardly, Brees had all day on a flea flicker and threw a duck down the field to Meachem. The call on 1st-and-20 wasn't too bright to begin with....
But the Saints stiffen again. Bullocks is looking like a competent free safety today breaking on two balls with excellent timing. Kasey nails a 34 yarder - he's a fantasy monster today! Sorry, my mind is somewhere else. 9-3 Carolina.
A very fair pass interference call on Vilma to sustain Carolina's drive. He had his hand on Smith's back for no reason. Panthers at the Saints' 21.
Josh Bullocks covering Steve Smith. Guess how that worked out.
Nevermind. No pass rush or coverage leads to a 28 yard Delhomme-to-Muhammed connection.
Again I ask - why are the Panthers throwing the ball? A holding call on Travelle Wharton puts the Panthers in a hole.
Saints have to settle for a field goal. Brees made a bad choice on 3rd down opting for a covered Miller over an open Moore in the end zone. And Drew had time to make the right choice thanks to excellent pass blocking. Garrett Hartley hits the 21 yarder to stay perfect as a Saint. 6-3 Panthers.
Here comes the Brees air assault. Completions to Colston and Miller have New Orleans in the red zone. Now Lance Moore gets in on the act. Saints at the Panthers 5. And no sign of the Deuce...
End of the first quarter: Saints are on the move. New Orleans can cancel out Carolina's dominant first quarter with a tocuhdown here. The problem with the Panthers is Jake Delhomme. This year he has struggled to be consistent. FYI, Carolina had 123 yard to the Saints' 20 in the opening period. And the only thing the Panthers did wrong was even bother throwing the the ball at all.
Skylar Green has to have a place in this league. The guy is a heck of a return man. He had a 54 yarder last week and just broke off a 42 yarder. Will Green and Courtney Roby compete for the return man spot on this team next year?
Carolina has 106 yards rushing in the 1st quarter. Williams has 80 of them. The Saints have managed to hold the Panthers to field goals, but the bend-don't-break philosophy will only work for so long.
Sometimes you outcoach yourself. Why Carolina attempted to throw the ball on either of their first two drives on first down is foolish. The results were stalled drives. Kasey knocks through a second field goal from 26 yards. 6-0 Panthers.
And I mean ugly. The entire Saints linebacking corp missed tackles attempts on Jonathan Stewart on a play which should have resulted in a loss. Stewart gained 16.
DeAngelo Williams breaks a 30 yard run into Saints territory. He has 5 carries for 70 yards already. Good for me, but embarassing for the Saints. It could get ugly fast today.
Ok, Saints go 3-and-out. Help me out here. On 3rd-and-6, the Saints had Billy Miller lined up wide with Robert Meachem. Zach Strief was lineup up as an elligible receiver. The Saints attempted a play-action pass. No one was open. What did they expect?
Carolina takes the lead. John Kasey knocks through a 45-yard field goal. The Panthers gashed the Saints on the ground but failed to make anything happen with the passing game. Jonathan Vilma stuffed a draw play, and Muhsin Muhammed was guilty of a false start to help stiffle the drive. The 12-play drive took nearly 7 minutes off the clock, and you can expect Carolina to dominate the clock today with their ground attack. Thus, Dan Marino's record is looking very safe right now.
I have DeAngelo Williams in a fantasy football championship game today. Those 2 carries for 20 yards were nice. Does thinking that make me a bad person? Carolina already in Saints territory.
DEUUUUUCE. It was nice to see McAllister announced as a starter one more time in the Dome. Let's see how much he touches the ball. But first, we'll see the Panthers with the ball. Carolina is playing for the NFC South title and a first-round playoff bye.
No Pierre today - The Saints have made Pierre Thomas one of their inactives for today's game. Joining him are CB Michael Lehan, G Jamar Nesbit, DT Kendrick Clancy, DE Rob Ninkovich, WR David Patten, TE Jeremy Shockey and third QB Joey Harrington.
The decision to shelve Thomas allows Deuce McAllister to start and feature for New Orleans in what many believe will be his final game in Black & Gold. Mike Bell will also see touches, but how many? Drew Brees and Sean Payton now have an excellent excuse to pass early and often in an attempt to break Dan Marino's single season passing yardage record. Let 'er fly!
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