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Saints' D puts clamps on Newton in 12-9 win over Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints still have one of the league's top-scoring offenses, but lately it's the defense that's been carrying the NFL's most complete team.

On a night when Brees and the offense couldn't get much going and made some uncharacteristic mistakes, New Orleans put the clamps on Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in a 12-9 victory on Monday night, moving the Saints into position to lock up home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.

''I believe in us, game in and game out, first quarter to fourth quarter,'' defensive end Cam Jordan said. ''If it comes down to a crucial play, I believe in us.''

The Saints (12-2) held an opponent to 17 points or fewer for a sixth straight game. They limited Newton to 131 yards passing, sacked him four times and forced two turnovers. Carolina (6-8), which lost its sixth straight, had just 247 yards and 13 first downs. The Panthers' only scores came on a trick play on fourth down and an interception return on a 2-point conversion attempt.

''So proud of the defense,'' Saints coach Sean Payton said. ''I thought they were outstanding. It's tough to win a division game on the road and we were able to do that.''

Alvin Kamara had 103 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown, and Brees had 203 yards passing for the Saints, who took a one-game lead in the NFC over the Rams. The Saints close the season at home against Pittsburgh and Carolina; the Rams visit Arizona and host San Francisco.

Newton struggled throwing the ball more than 10 yards downfield because of a lingering sore right shoulder. He said after the game he's unsure what the injury is, but he mentioned his labrum and rotator cuff as possible issues. He has been limited in practice for weeks and doesn't have the zip on the ball he normally has.

So much for his boast that the Panthers were bringing a cup to steal the ''juice'' from the Saints.

''(Newton) said something along the lines of they brought their own cup, a juice box or something, I don't know what it was,'' Jordan said. ''But I do know that he's got to go back to the refrigerator and pull out a bigger cup.''

The Saints swept three games from the Panthers last season and knocked them out of the playoffs, prompting Jordan to send Newton a bottle of red wine in the offseason, while some other teammates gave him a broom. This loss likely ended Carolina's playoff hopes again.

Newton said his shoulder simply isn't getting better - or worse - and he refused to blame the injury, saying, ''I have to be better.''

''Our defense played a hell of a game and we have to reward them,'' Newton said. ''We had two turnovers in the red zone and that comes down to execution.''

TRICK PLAYS

The Panthers struck first after offensive coordinator Norv Turner dug into his bag of tricks.

On a fourth-and-2 from midfield, Christian McCaffrey got a handoff, took a step toward the line, then stepped back and lofted a perfect pass over the middle to tight end Chris Manhertz, who was 15 yards behind the defense. Manhertz trotted into the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. It was McCaffrey's first career pass attempt, although he threw two TD passes while at Stanford. He became the first non-QB to throw a TD pass in Panthers history.

APPLE'S PICK

Eli Apple intercepted Newton in the end zone with 10 seconds left in the first half.

''I knew they were going to take a shot,'' Apple said. ''They ran a fade route. I just tried to get my head around and make a play on the ball.''

COSTLY TURNOVERS

The Panthers held the Saints in check for most of the third quarter, but the game changed when Panthers receiver D.J. Moore fumbled on an inside handoff. The Saints pounced, capping an 84-yard drive with a 16-yard TD run by Kamara to make it 12-7 early in the fourth quarter. The Saints went for 2, but Brees' toss was intercepted by Donte Jackson, who took it back nearly 100 yards.

That wasn't the only time the Saints cost themselves a scoring opportunity. New Orleans was on the verge of taking the lead late in the second quarter, but James Bradberry intercepted Brees' tipped pass and returned it to Saints territory.

And New Orleans whiffed on a potential game-sealing touchdown when Tommylee Lewis fumbled near the goal line, leading to a touchback that gave Carolina one last chance to tie the game with 1:44 remaining. But the Panthers couldn't move the ball and turned it over on downs.

McCAFFREY SETS MARK

McCaffrey broke DeAngelo Williams' single-season franchise record of 1,636 yards from scrimmage with a rush in the first quarter. He finished with 110 yards rushing and receiving.

DUBIOUS STREAK

The loss extended the Panthers' streak of never having posted back-to-back winning seasons since joining the NFL in 1995.

OLSEN UPDATE

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen had surgery on his right foot Monday, his second procedure on the foot in the last 16 months. ''Surgery went well and I am on my way towards a full recovery,'' Olsen wrote on Instagram.

INJURIES

Saints center Max Unger left the game in the first half after being evaluated for a concussion and did not return. He was replaced by Cameron Tom.

UP NEXT

Saints: Host the Steelers on Sunday.

Panthers: Host the Falcons on Sunday.

---

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Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
A. Kamara 41 RB
67 RuYds, RuTD, 36 ReYds, 7 RECs
15
FPTS
C. McCaffrey 22 RB
53 RuYds, 67 ReYds, 8 RECs
19
FPTS
Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Missed Two Point Conversion 12:12
TWO-POINT CONVERSION ATTEMPT. D.Brees pass to M.Thomas is incomplete. ATTEMPT FAILS. DEFENSIVE TWO-POINT ATTEMPT. D.Jackson intercepted the try attempt. ATTEMPT SUCCEEDS
plays
yds
pos
12
9
Touchdown 12:12
A.Kamara right tackle for 16 yards TOUCHDOWN.
11
plays
84
yds
6:13
pos
12
7
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 10:00
W.Lutz 24 yard field goal is GOOD Center-Z.Wood Holder-T.Morstead.
12
plays
69
yds
5:50
pos
6
7
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 2:20
W.Lutz 46 yard field goal is GOOD Center-Z.Wood Holder-T.Morstead.
5
plays
23
yds
1:46
pos
3
7
Point After TD 4:02
C.Catanzaro extra point is GOOD Center-J.Jansen Holder-M.Palardy.
plays
yds
pos
0
7
Touchdown 4:02
C.Clark reported in as eligible. C.McCaffrey pass short right to C.Manhertz for 50 yards TOUCHDOWN.
7
plays
90
yds
3:24
pos
0
6
Team Stats
Time of Pos 35:09 24:51
1st Downs 21 13
Rushing 11 5
Passing 8 7
Penalty 2 1
3rd Down Conv 4-13 7-15
4th Down Conv 1-1 1-2
Total Net Yards 346 247
Total Plays 69 57
Avg Gain 5.0 4.3
Net Yards Rushing 155 98
Rush Attempts 32 23
Avg Rush Yards 4.8 4.3
Net Yards Passing 191 149
Comp. - Att. 23-35 17-30
Yards Per Pass 5.5 5.0
Sacked - Yards Lost 2-12 4-32
Penalties - Yards 9-80 4-48
Touchdowns 1 1
Rushing TDs 1 0
Passing TDs 0 1
Other 0 0
Turnovers 2 2
Fumbles - Lost 1-1 1-1
Int. Thrown 1 1
Punts - Avg 4-41.8 6-37.7
Return Yards 63 27
Punts - Returns 2-13 1-1
Kickoffs - Returns 1-50 1-26
Int. - Returns 1-0 1-0
Kicking 2/2 1/1
Extra Points 0/0 1/1
Field Goals 2/2 0/0
Red Zone Eff. 1-3 -33% 0-1 -0%
Goal to Go Eff. 0-0 -0% 0-0 -0%
Safeties 0 0
1234T
Saints 12-2 330612
Panthers 6-8 70029
191 PASS YDS 149
155 RUSH YDS 98
346 TOTAL YDS 247
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
D. Brees 9 QB
6
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
65.7% 203 0 1 69.1
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
74.9% 3666 31 5 116.8
D. Brees 23/35 203 0 1 6
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
A. Kamara 41 RB
15
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
14 67 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
187 860 12
A. Kamara 14 67 1 16 15
M. Ingram 22 RB
7
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
12 63 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
122 582 5
M. Ingram 12 63 0 22 7
T. Hill 7 QB
1
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 17 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
34 185 1
T. Hill 1 17 0 17 1
Z. Line 42 FB
0
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 6 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
6 22 0
Z. Line 2 6 0 5 0
T. Lewis 11 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
1 4 0
T. Lewis 1 4 0 4 0
D. Brees 9 QB
6
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 -2 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
30 23 4
D. Brees 2 -2 0 -1 6
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
M. Thomas 13 WR
4
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
9 7 49 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 109 1267 8
M. Thomas 9 7 49 0 12 4
K. Kirkwood 18 WR
4
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 2 40 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 11 174 2
K. Kirkwood 2 2 40 0 21 4
A. Kamara 41 RB
15
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
9 7 36 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 77 627 4
A. Kamara 9 7 36 0 11 15
B. Watson 82 TE
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 1 28 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 32 365 2
B. Watson 2 1 28 0 28 2
J. Hill 89 TE
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 2 24 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 14 184 1
J. Hill 3 2 24 0 14 2
T. Smith 10 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
4 2 15 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 24 386 4
T. Smith 4 2 15 0 9 1
M. Ingram 22 RB
7
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 2 11 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 18 147 1
M. Ingram 2 2 11 0 9 7
T. Hill 7 QB
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 0 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 2 1 0
T. Hill 1 0 0 0 0 1
D. Arnold 85 TE
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 0 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 12 150 1
D. Arnold 2 0 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
V. Bell 24 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-3 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
51-21 0 1.0
V. Bell 4-3 1.0 0 1
D. Davis 56 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-4 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
70-33 0 4.0
D. Davis 4-4 1.0 0 0
P. Williams 26 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
37-10 1 1.0
P. Williams 3-2 0.0 0 0
C. Jordan 94 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
34-11 0 12.0
C. Jordan 3-1 0.0 0 0
A. Anzalone 47 MLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
37-13 1 1.0
A. Anzalone 3-2 0.0 0 0
A. Okafor 57 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
23-10 0 4.0
A. Okafor 2-2 1.0 0 0
S. Rankins 98 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
24-13 0 8.0
S. Rankins 2-2 0.0 0 0
D. Onyemata 93 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
20-10 0 4.0
D. Onyemata 2-0 1.0 0 0
E. Apple 25 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
53-11 2 0.0
E. Apple 2-1 0.0 1 0
M. Williams 43 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
42-10 2 1.0
M. Williams 2-2 0.0 0 0
K. Coleman 29 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
19-9 0 0.0
K. Coleman 1-0 0.0 0 0
M. Lattimore 23 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
42-9 2 0.0
M. Lattimore 1-1 0.0 0 0
M. Davenport 92 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
11-7 0 4.0
M. Davenport 1-1 0.0 0 0
A. Klein 53 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
36-26 1 2.0
A. Klein 1-3 0.0 0 0
T. Davison 95 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-15 0 1.0
T. Davison 0-1 0.0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
W. Lutz 3 K
6
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
2/2 0/0
SEASON FG XP
27/28 46/47
W. Lutz 2/2 46 0/0 6
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
T. Morstead 6 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
4 42.0 3
SEASON NO AVG IN20
35 47.0 13
T. Morstead 4 42.0 3 46
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
A. Kamara 41 RB
15
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 50.0 50 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
4 31.5 50 0
A. Kamara 1 50.0 50 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
T. Lewis 11 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 6.5 13 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
6 7.0 17 0
T. Lewis 2 6.5 13 0
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
C. Newton 1 QB
4
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
55.2% 131 0 1 52.5
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
67.9% 3395 24 13 94.2
C. Newton 16/29 131 0 1 4
C. McCaffrey 22 RB
19
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
100% 50 1 0 158.3
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
100% 50 1 0 158.3
C. McCaffrey 1/1 50 1 0 19
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
C. McCaffrey 22 RB
19
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
15 53 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
194 979 7
C. McCaffrey 15 53 0 9 19
D. Moore 12 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 22 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
13 172 0
D. Moore 1 22 0 22 1
C. Newton 1 QB
4
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
5 15 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
101 488 4
C. Newton 5 15 0 5 4
C. Samuel 10 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 8 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
8 84 2
C. Samuel 2 8 0 6 1
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
C. McCaffrey 22 RB
19
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
11 8 67 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 94 768 6
C. McCaffrey 11 8 67 0 22 19
C. Manhertz 82 TE
11
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 1 50 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 2 52 1
C. Manhertz 2 1 50 1 50 11
J. Wright 13 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
4 3 21 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 34 358 1
J. Wright 4 3 21 0 9 2
C. Samuel 10 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
4 1 17 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 30 381 4
C. Samuel 4 1 17 0 17 1
I. Thomas 80 TE
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
4 2 14 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 27 224 0
I. Thomas 4 2 14 0 8 1
D. Moore 12 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 2 12 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 49 688 2
D. Moore 3 2 12 0 7 1
D. Funchess 17 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 0 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 42 526 4
D. Funchess 1 0 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
L. Kuechly 59 MLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
11-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
88-36 1 2.0
L. Kuechly 11-2 0.0 0 0
T. Davis 58 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
9-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
39-30 0 0.0
T. Davis 9-3 0.0 0 0
E. Reid 25 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
45-19 1 1.0
E. Reid 5-2 0.0 0 0
C. Munnerlyn 41 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
35-9 1 2.0
C. Munnerlyn 3-0 1.0 0 0
M. Adams 29 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
44-26 3 0.0
M. Adams 3-3 0.0 0 0
K. Short 99 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
29-13 0 3.0
K. Short 3-1 0.0 0 0
W. Horton 96 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
14-7 0 1.0
W. Horton 2-1 0.0 0 0
S. Green-Thompson 54 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-5 0 0.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
50-29 0 3.5
S. Green-Thompson 2-5 0.5 0 0
D. Jackson 26 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
55-7 4 1.0
D. Jackson 2-1 0.0 0 0
J. Bradberry 24 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
51-11 1 1.0
J. Bradberry 2-1 0.0 1 1
M. Addison 97 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
17-14 0 8.0
M. Addison 1-1 0.0 0 0
B. Cox 91 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-6 0 0.0
B. Cox 0-2 0.0 0 0
V. Butler 92 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-2 0 0.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-13 0 0.5
V. Butler 0-2 0.5 0 0
D. Poe 95 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
9-8 0 1.0
D. Poe 0-1 0.0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
C. Catanzaro 4 K
1
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
0/0 1/1
SEASON FG XP
13/17 26/30
C. Catanzaro 0/0 0 1/1 1
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
M. Palardy 5 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
6 39.8 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
55 44.9 23
M. Palardy 6 39.8 1 56
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
K. Barner 23 RB
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 26.0 26 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
5 22.2 31 0
K. Barner 1 26.0 26 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
K. Barner 23 RB
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 1.0 1 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
5 2.6 12 0
K. Barner 1 1.0 1 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
10:43 NO 14 3:17 6 30 Punt
4:02 NO 49 1:46 5 23 FG
0:46 NO 25 5:50 12 69 FG
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
6:42 NO 23 3:28 8 20 Punt
2:08 NO 49 0:22 2 4 INT
0:10 NO 20 0:12 1 -1 Half
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 NO 25 2:25 5 14 Punt
11:30 NO 24 3:54 6 23 Punt
3:25 NO 16 6:13 11 84 TD
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
8:51 NO 35 7:07 14 64 Fumble
0:35 CAR 39 0:35 1 -1 Game
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 CAR 25 4:17 8 25 Punt
7:26 CAR 10 3:24 7 90 TD
2:16 CAR 25 1:30 3 9 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
9:56 CAR 25 3:14 6 9 Punt
3:14 CAR 23 1:06 3 -5 Punt
1:46 NO 42 1:34 6 29 INT
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:35 CAR 17 1:05 3 -2 Punt
7:30 CAR 15 4:11 8 57 Fumble
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:12 CAR 26 3:21 6 16 Punt
1:44 CAR 20 1:09 7 19 Downs