Saints – Panthers wild card: Observations from the cheap seats

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07: Drew Brees /
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Good things to take away

The Saints were forced to play differently on offense and they held up to the task well. Drew Brees reprised his role as Breesus and once again led the Saints to victory, with strong supporting help from Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn, Jr.

After rushing for 297 yards in the first two meetings, the Panthers’ defense wasn’t going to allow rushing. Fortunately, the were still allowing points. Their rushing defense has been good all year. They’ve been exceptional the last few weeks. But their scoring defense wasn’t as exceptional. The Saints began scoring and then continued to score.

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New Orleans decided to play more zone coverages against the Panthers. Since there was no one great receiver to take away outside of TE Greg Olsen, the Saints figured playing a zone and keeping plays in front of them was the way to go.

That strategy led to nothing but field goal attempts for Carolina for almost 3 full quarters, while the Saints were scoring TDs. In fact, despite having the ball for over 18 of the 30 minutes of the first half, all Carolina managed was four field goal attempts and three made field goals.