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Panthers earn sweep of Saints with walk-off win

Jan 8, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) runs against Carolina Panthers cornerback Myles Hartsfield (38) and safety Xavier Woods (25) during the first half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Eddy Pineiro kicked a 42-yard field goal as time expired and the visiting Carolina Panthers defeated the New Orleans Saints 10-7 Sunday afternoon.

Moments before Pineiro’s kick, the Saints (7-10) missed an opportunity to take the lead when Wil Lutz’s 55-yard field-goal attempt was blocked, giving the Panthers the ball at their 45 with 1:20 remaining.

After a sack, Sam Darnold ran for 13 yards, then Darnold, who had just 22 yards passing to that point, completed a 21-yarder to Terrace Marshall Jr. to set up the game-winner.

The Panthers (7-10) finished 6-6 under Steve Wilks, who was promoted from defensive coordinator to interim head coach when Matt Rhule was fired after a 1-4 start.

Carolina, which beat New Orleans 22-14 in Week 3, ended the Saints’ three-game winning streak.

The Panthers had just 60 yards of total offense in the first half, but drove 82 yards in 14 plays on the first possession of the second half. On third and goal from the 3, Darnold fumbled inside the 1 and offensive lineman Michael Jordan recovered in the end zone for a touchdown that tied the score at seven.

The score remained tied through the end of the third quarter and well into the fourth. After a punt, the Panthers took over at their 13 with 1:47 remaining. Darnold tried a deep pass, but Daniel Sorensen intercepted at the Carolina 49 and returned to the 35. The Saints lost 2 yards in three plays, forcing Lutz to try from 55 yards.

On the first possession of the game the Saints drove 75 yards to a touchdown. Dalton threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Chris Olave, who on the play became the third rookie in New Orleans history to have 1,000 receiving yards as a rookie, joining Michael Thomas and Marques Colston.

The score stayed 7-0 into the second quarter and the Saints missed an opportunity to extend the lead when Lutz was wide left on a 44-yard field-goal attempt on the third play of the second quarter.

–Field Level Media