December 30, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) under center against the New Orleans Saints during the first quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Let the motivation begin for the New Orleans Saints as they head into the offseason for when they face the Carolina Panthers again. Apparently the Panthers have been stockpiling it since last year.
After the Saints were defeated by the Panthers in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome 44-38 on Sunday, some of the players for the Panthers revealed that they had been holding a grudge for the Saints from last year.
Linebacker Thomas Davis had this to say about their motivation for playing today:
"“This was a hard fought divisional game that was really important to us because of what they did to us last year. I mean they tried to run the score up on us both games last season, and as a player and as a team you look at that stuff and it’s in the back of your mind. We didn’t talk about this during the week leading up to the game today but it was something that definitely motivated us.”"
Now what Davis meant by “both games” isn’t clear. The Saints did sweep the Panthers last season but their first meeting was a narrow 30-27 victory followed by a final season game where the score was 45-17.
Of course the Saints were also accused of running up the score on the Atlanta Falcons the week prior in a 45-16 victory where quarterback Drew Brees eclipsed former NFL quarterback Dan Marino’s single season passing record.
Much was made of that game afterwards by CBSSports.com writer Pete Prisco who appeared to fan the flames for this next season when the Falcons faced the Saints again.
Panthers safety Charles Godfrey was a bit more specific on the matter. Godfrey, who intercepted Brees on a momentum swinging play, said:
"“The bottom line was we came down here to win a football game. We owed them one and we got the victory.”"