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Tom Talks: Tell me you saw this coming

Carolina came out Sunday like the team that had won eight straight games. The play calls were astute, the blocking was good and the players were patient. And then New Orleans got it going. And the Panthers simply couldn’t keep up. They couldn’t sustain a drive and they couldn’t stop the Saints from sustaining one. The Panthers were the Saints. The Saints were the Seattle Seahawks. If you saw this coming, you’re much more astute than I was.

•  After linebacker Junior Gallette sacked Cam Newton for a loss of 7 yards, Gallette performed Newton’s Superman celebration. We’ve seen Superman takeoffs before. But Gallette wasn’t finished. He took the Clark Kent suit that he presumably had ripped, tossed it to the ground and, with of his 258 pounds, stomped on it. Not bad.

•  In New Orleans, it’s tough to tell when a celebration begins. No matter what time you went anywhere near the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday, fans were tailgating. But did they show up early or had they been there for days? There’s no way to tell. If you walk down a French Quarter Street at, say, 7 a.m., people are in bars. Did they start early? Or have they yet to finish the previous evening?

•  Early in the game the crowd was engaged. They made as much noise as I have ever heard in any arena or stadium. I don’t know if they made more. At some point, it doesn’t matter. Yet, no matter how loud the fans became, electric signs urged them to become louder, or to set the record for the most noise generated at an indoor arena. Guinness World Records had a representative in the building. But telling Saints fans to make noise is like telling sportswriters in the Superdome press box that the buffet is open. We don’t have to be told. We know. So do fans of the Saints.

I know the game ended late. I wonder if anything will be open.

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