Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sports | By Spencer Underwood

Jerry Richardson May Have Seen Last Game as Panthers Owner

Jerry Richardson May Have Seen Last Game as Panthers Owner

Carolina (11-6) almost prevented New Orleans from staying alive in the postseason, turning a late interception of quarterback Drew Brees into a last-ditch effort to steal a victory on the road after twice losing to the Saints in the regular season.

Brees finished with 376 yards passing in the wild card weekend game, with two touchdown passes.

Cliché alert: it's tough to beat an opponent three times in a season, and it's darn near impossible without significant adjustments from the previous meetings. Their sensational RB tandem did a lot of the heavy lifting this season, with the previous Carolina victories no exception.

Now it's on to Minnesota where the Saints didn't exactly distinguish themselves in Week 1, falling victim to one of the NFL's top defensive units and hot-handed quarterback Sam Bradford who suffered a knee injury and relinquished the starting job to veteran Case Keenum.

Eighteen seconds later, Brees responded with an explosive shot, an 80-yard strike to former Carolina receiver Ginn, who caught the ball behind cornerback James Bradberry and raced in for a 7-0 New Orleans lead.

Carolina would answer quickly. with a field goal.

The Panthers' once-promising season comes to an abrupt end, and now they face an offseason of uncertainty in which owner Jerry Richardson has said he will sell the franchise while he is investigated by the National Football League for alleged workplace misconduct.

Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles was more effective as a runner than passer, finishing with 89 yards on nine carries as the Jags won their first playoff game since 2007.

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The only opportunity for Carolina points in the first quarter, was a Graham Gano 25-yard field goal, but it went wide right.

Yet, unlike in the regular season, the Panthers" "D' did a number on Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, who combined for just 68 yards from scrimmage, a little more than one-third of their regular-season average. Needless to say, at that juncture of the game with Carolina trailing by five points, the call was crushing for the Panthers. "They couldn't drop a bead at first", he added.

Credit Newton for a courageous performance. David Onyemata came with some force and drilled the quarterback into the turf legally. Backup linebacker Jonathan Freeny sacked Newton to force a field goal at the start of the third quarter. "If you are going to stack the box, try to stop the run and try to take us (running backs) out of the game, then he is going to hurt you". And he narrowly missed completing an epic comeback, which would've been assisted by Payton's fourth-down brain fart.

But Brees couldn't find an open receiver, was flushed out of the pocket and decided his best option was to throw it up for grabs. If Brees keeps playing like that, the Saints are a Super Bowl threat. Thomas paced his team with eight catches for 131 yards.

Brees nearly had his third touchdown pass of the half when, after teaming with Hill for a 25-yarder up the middle, he connected with Thomas that fell a yard short of pay dirt.

A pair of handoffs to Kamara had the Saints in the end zone as the Saints took a 31-19 lead with 5:08 remaining.

The Vikings (13-3), who received a first-round bye in the playoffs, traveled to New Orleans to open the season on September 11 defeated the Saints 29-19.

After the game, Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue said Bills guard Richie Incognito used "weak racist slurs" during the game.

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