NC CHARLOTTE — NFC South rivals the Panthers and Saints faced off on Monday night, with Derek Carr of New Orleans under center and Bryce Young of Carolina, the first overall choice in the draft, starting at quarterback. However, the game was mostly dominated by the formidable defenses of both teams.
- Finally, late in the third quarter, the Saints scored the game’s first touchdown and pulled away to win 20–17. The Panthers are now 0-2 going into Week 3, while the Saints are 2-0.
Los Angeles Saints
For the second straight week, award the MVP honors to the Saints defense. After another poor effort for the offense against Young and the Panthers, the unit came through with a dominating display. Thanks to a four-man rush that resulted in four sacks, the defense was able to keep the rookie quarterback off the field for the majority of the game, only allowing him to complete 22 passes for 153 yards. For the second straight week, the Saints’ offense struggled to score in the first half. However, they managed to stay up with a touchdown in the third quarter thanks to a 42-yard pass to Chris Olave.
The use of offensive line play. The offensive line, which is loaded with first-round picks, is undoubtedly talented, but this season the group hasn’t been able to gel. After two games, the Saints had let Carr get sacked four times this season, for an overall total of eight. Despite having better run game success than the previous week, Jamaal Williams, the running back, left the game early due to a hamstring injury.
Carr appeared to be having trouble with his timing with his receivers and threw a poor interception early on. Rather than reaching the end zone, the Saints had to make do with field goals. Carr was able to make the plays when it mattered, though, just like last week. The first play of 20 yards by either team was a downfield pass to Olave, and it appeared to be the catalyst for something since Carr proceeded to set up the final touchdown with a ball to Olave and another crucial throw to Rashid Shaheed.
The Saints haven’t let up 20 points or less in a game for a franchise-high 10 straight, going all the way back to last season, and it doesn’t seem to be an exception. For the second straight week, the defense allowed fewer than 300 net yards, and it recorded four more sacks to extend its season total to seven. The Panthers’ late touchdown with 1:16 remaining in the game—the only touchdown the Saints have given up this season—was the sole setback thus far.
- Next game: on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET against the Green Bay Packers
The Panthers offense, led by Young, was not prepared for prime time at Bank of America Stadium on Monday night. Young wasn’t entirely to blame for the poor performance put forth by the draft’s number one pick. With only a four-man rush, the former Alabama star was always under pressure due to his offensive line’s repeated breakdowns. However, Young did not react at all when put under duress until a last-ditch effort for 26 yards in the fourth quarter. He was 3-for-8 for 13 yards with four sacks and a fumble in this one, after going 2-for-10 throwing and getting sacked once against pressure in the first game.
Young made some nice plays with his legs and did a good job of releasing the ball, but he is still not beyond 15 yards in completion percentage. Carolina has only scored two touchdowns in its first two games for all of these reasons, and Young’s inexperience is still a major factor.
- Young and the Panthers on third down: a troubling trend. With two sacks and two scrambles in addition to going 4-for-9 for 32 yards, Young was a major contributor to the Panthers’ ineffectiveness on third downs, when they were 4-of-14.
Largest gap in the strategy:
How to handle third-and-short situations. Because Young (5-foot-10, 204 pounds) isn’t big enough, the Panthers can’t use the quarterback sneak. Besides, he’s never done it before. Thus, on those plays, Carolina had to insert backup quarterback Andy Dalton. There was a false start the first time. Dalton pitched to running back Miles Sanders for a first down the second time. But going future, this might become a problem.
Young fumbled on a sack on the first series of the second half, which would have put the Saints in the red zone with a 6-3 lead. A defensive holding penalty rendered the play void, averting what could have been a terrible outcome. This enabled Carolina to maintain a close gap until the very end.
- Next game: on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET against the Seattle Seahawks.
1.Why did the Saints win the game against the Panthers?The Saints won due to a strong defensive performance and crucial plays by quarterback Derek Carr.
2.How did Bryce Young perform in the game?Bryce Young, the Panthers’ rookie quarterback, struggled under pressure, completing 22 passes for 153 yards.
3.What is the Saints’ defensive record regarding points allowed?The Saints’ defense has not allowed more than 20 points in ten consecutive games.
4.Why did the Panthers face challenges on third-and-short situations?The Panthers faced challenges because Bryce Young, their quarterback, was not suited for quarterback sneaks due to his size.
5.Who are the next opponents for the Panthers and the Saints?The Panthers will play the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET, and the Saints will face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.