Carolina had two big defensive lapses in the second half that led to two New Orleans Saints’ touchdowns in the Panthers’ 41-38 victory.
The first came in the third quarter on a 54-yard pass from Drew Brees to Brandin Cooks.
Then, early in the fourth quarter, Brees found a wide-open Brandon Coleman for a 24-yard touchdown that put the Saints up 31-27.
“I am a little bit more disappointed by what happened on the defensive side,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “We gave up some balls over the top that we typically don’t. It was very uncharacteristic of us. I don’t want to say that we were lackadaisical. I kind of felt like we really weren’t focused in on what we needed to do.
“Those are some things that we will look at. (Defensive coordinator) Sean (McDermott) and I will talk about things that we need to look at and make sure that we get it corrected.”
Less than one minute into the fourth quarter, the Saints had the ball at the Carolina 24. Facing third-and-3, the Saints called a timeout. The next play was a touchdown pass to Coleman along the sideline.
“That’s why Drew Brees is Drew Brees. He’ll be in the Hall of Fame,” Panthers cornerback Josh Norman said. “He saw something, called a timeout and ran the same play. He saw us in the same coverage. He went with his gut and he made a big play. I’ve got to tip my hat to him.
“I don’t even know how he saw it. I thought we covered it up very well. He did it, and he saw us in the coverage that looked good to him – I thought it looked good to us.
“Oh my gosh. We’re going for six,” Norman said he thought to himself as the play began. “That wasn’t the case. Drew did a great job of pumping with his eyes, and one thing led to another.”