Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Cam Newton forced from Wild Card game after brutal hit

Cam Newton forced from Wild Card game after brutal hit

Drew Brees passed for 376 yards and two touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints held off the Carolina Panthers' late comeback bid to seal a 31-26 victory in their NFC wild-card game on Sunday. "It pushed them 20, 25 yards. back. Here I am, as a Cam Jordan, sending Cam Newton a bottle of Jordan wine".

On an evening where the Carolina Panthers completely shut down star running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram (45 yards combined), Brees took control.

New Orleans looked as if they would have a cake walk in their third match up with Carolina.

When it takes four seconds to decide whether to throw a flag on a blatant pass interference, in which the cornerback tackled the receiver by the ankles before the ball arrived, the officiating has to be questioned.

Instead, the pass wound up in the hands of Carolina safety Mike Adams.

It all came down to a fourth down at the Saints' 34-yard line with 11 seconds to go in the game with Carolina quarterback Cam Newton suddenly hot and on the verge of avenging two regular season losses to New Orleans. When asked last week about the possibility of rematch against the Saints, he said, "I'm not anxious about that. I thought somebody stuck their finger in my eye, but I've got my visor, so that couldn't happen".

"I feel like it was kind of taken away from us".

Yet despite the offensive struggles for most of the game, the Panthers still had a chance to pull it out when Brees and Payton made a decision to gamble on fourth down at the Carolina 47 yard line with under two minutes to go, knowing a first down would seal the victory.

"Our quarterback was out of the pocket", he said.

Up until that point, Brees had put together a strong performance that got going late in the first quarter when he found Ted Ginn down the field for an 80-yard touchdown pass.

But Newton promptly returned on the next series, nearly immediately connecting with Christian McCaffrey on a 56-yard catch-and-run touchdown. The former Ohio State Buckeye will get to match talents with former MI wide receiver Devin Funchess, who leads the Panthers with 63 catches for 840 yards and eight touchdowns. "The ball was spread around quite a bit and guys were making plays when they had the chances".

"We've got the best fans in the world", he said. We knew it was going to be a challenge. The statement comes less than 90 minutes after Newton was allowed to re-enter in the fourth quarter of a one-score game after missing only one play to be evaluated on the sideline and in the medical tent for a possible concussion. Other players have developed into more significant roles as the Saints ascended to the top of the NFC South and past the wild-card round of the playoffs. Olsen finally got the Panthers into the end zone on a 14-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter that cut the New Orleans lead to 24-19.

"I believe that we are different". He threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Christian McCaffrey and had Carolina in scoring position in the final minute before the rally fell short. Gano had made 29-of-30 kicks before that miss, and his only failed attempt had come from 55 yards out. The Panthers simply didn't do enough to turn field goals into touchdowns.

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