New Orleans officially swept the Panthers for the first time since 2001 with a 34-3 drubbing on their home turf of Bank of America Stadium.
The win moved the Saints (6-3, 3-1 Div.) half a game back from the Atlanta Falcons (6-2, 2-0 Div.) who were able to edge out the Buccaneers 27-21 at home today to maintain sole possession of first place in the NFC South.
Quarterback Drew Brees was able to shake off an early interception in the first half off a tipped pass to complete 27 of 43 attempts for 253 yards and two touchdowns.
Julius Jones lead the team in rushing with 68 yards but rookie Chris Ivory chipped in 50 yards on twelve carries to help the team achieve their highest total in weeks with 165 yards on the ground.
Ladell Betts also scored a rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter with a little more than eight minutes remainings that put the game entirely out of reach for the Panthers.
The Saints defense continues it’s impressive play holding the Panthers offense to 195 total yards while getting four sacks and two turnovers which included a 24 yard interception returned for a touchdown by corner Jabari Greer.
Carolina was held to a total of 68 yards passing as the Saints secondary clearly benefited from having both Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer back in the lineup.
Tight end Jeremy Shockey was taken to local hospital after suffering an apparent rib injury when being tackled after making a touchdown catch in the first half.
Shockey was visibly in pain but did get up and walk off the field under his own power. His status to return to the game was listed as questionable before turning to out before being escorted to the ambulance.
No status has yet been given on the cause or severity of the injury but Shockey has never played a full sixteen game season in his nine year career.
On a side note rookie tight end Jimmy Graham, filling in for Shockey, caught his first career touchdown pass on a nineteen yard catch in the second quarter.
His progression in the Saints offense is a good sign as he may be thrust into more playing time considering Shockey may be in line to miss time given the injury he sustained today.
The Saints have their bye-week next and will return in week eleven for a home game against the Seattle Seahawks followed by a big Thanksgiving Day showdown with the struggling Dallas Cowboys.
Check out Keith Null’s weekly article about the Saints on NFL.com by clicking here.