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Coach From The Couch Week 12: Saints narrowly escape an upset with win over the Panthers

Two big wins in one short week. The Saints managed to finish their four game division stretch on a high note. The first one being a wild finish win against the Panthers. They held a big league early but Carolina fought their way back in. Ultimately, the black and gold got lucky and drove down the field to kick the winning field goal. Here are the key moments from the game:

Finally Got One

The Saints were finally able to get an opening drive touchdown. The first drive was good balance of the run and pass game. They converted two big third down plays on passes to Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr., respectively. Latavius Murray capped off the drive with a 26 yard run for the score. It was great for the team to finally get that hump off their back.

Lucky Bounce

The Saints defense forced a three and out to get the ball back to the offense. They were forced to punt after the drive stalled because of a pass interference call on Jared Cook. Sean Payton challenged the call but it was upheld. But, the Saints got a lucky bounce off a Panthers defender and recovered it at the Carolina 27 yard line. Payton would waste no time and capitalized with a 13 yard pass to Tre’Quan Smith to go up 14-0.

What Are You Looking At?

The Panthers would strike back quickly on their next possession. Kyle Allen would hit DJ Moore on a 51 yard bomb for a touchdown. Moore was able to sneak past the coverage because PJ Williams was caught looking in the backfield. There was no point of looking at the quarterback and it cost him dearly. Luckily, Joey Slye would miss the extra point keeping the score at 14-6.

Keep Away To The Extreme

The Saints were a non-factor in the entire second quarter. They kicked a field goal but got shut down from that point. Carolina was able to have possession for almost twelve minutes. The Saints would only have five total yards in the quarter. The Panthers would make matters worse by going on a 17 play, 68 yard drive to end the quarter. Christian McCaffrey would score on a one yard touchdown pass. However, they would fail to convert on the two point try.

Turning Point

The Saints were leading 31-24 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Brees got picked off by Tre Boston right at midfield. Looking back at the film, the concept of the play was very good. Taysom Hill was actually wide open on the right side and could have gotten the first down. Regardless, Boston just made a great read. The Panthers would get a touchdown to tie the game.

Crazy Turn Of Events

The Saints had a dilemma with under seven minutes left in the game. They have a fourth and one at their own 45 and decide to go for it. However, Kamara was stopped short. In that situation, I would have punted it away and forced Carolina to drive down field. The Panthers would do so with a short field, getting to the five yard line right before the two minute warning. The Saints defense looked to have stop them to force a field goal. But Ron Rivera would challenge the play and was reversed to a pass interference call.

The defense would stop them on first and second down to set up a crucial third down play. Marcus Davenport would come up clutch. He would sack Allen at the ten yard line to force the field goal. Then, he got through the line and forced Slye to push the kick wide right. Brees now has the ball in his hands to get into field goal range. He makes an audible on third down from their own 36 and hits Thomas for a big gain into Panthers’ territory. He would then hit Kamara for another chunk play to get it down to the 24 yard line. Kamara would rush for nine yards to the 15 and Wil Lutz would kick the game winner as time expired.

This game was a lot then it should have been. The Panthers get a lot of credit for fighting back into the game. The Saints defense made some big plays when it mattered the most. Payton also expressed his displeasure after the game about the officiating. There were a lot of questionable calls, especially the reversed pass interference call late in the game. Ironically, this is the same crew that upheld a blatant call the previous week. Nonetheless, the Saints pulled out a victory and prepared for a Thanksgiving rematch with the Falcons.

About Dom Lewis

All Saints Considered Analyst. Professional Chef. Proud Member of the Who Dat Nation since 1991. Follow Dom on Twitter for more @BigFella122