Carolina Panthers snap New Orleans Saints‘ three-game winning streak and ended the season with a 10-7 victory on the road. After trailing for most of the game, multiple errors on the last nine offensive drives cost them greatly as they failed to score at all.
“We didn’t execute very well (on offense),” Saints coach Dennis Allen stated. “I don’t think we executed like we needed to in the second half of the game. I think we’ve got to be better there.”
With Carolina prevailing on their Week 18 match-up, both of the teams end up with a 7-10 record as they conclude the season. The Saints also failed to cover the spread on Louisiana online sportsbooks which lean on them as the 3.5 favorites.
Altercation During the Third Period
Sunday’s match between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers was marred by an altercation that resulted in two players being ejected. With 12:08 remaining in the third quarter, Panthers running back D’Onta Foreman ran the ball but some pushing and shoving followed after the play.
The officials then threw flags for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on both Foreman and Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport before determining to remove them from the game. This was certainly an unexpected and unfortunate ending to a dramatic season for both teams.
Dolton Still Got His Bag
Ryan Dalton certainly made the most of his bonus opportunity this past Sunday. The veteran quarterback who signed a one-year deal with New Orleans in March was set to earn a $1 million bonus if he played even one series in Week 18. However, he went above and beyond expectations by leading the Saints all game, completing 15 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown, ultimately missing out on the win but successfully meeting his contractual obligations.
Dalton had already reached the 50% mark in snaps prior to Sunday’s match-up, so his bonus was just slightly influenced by outcomes after that barrier had been cleared. As a result of rallying his team for four full quarters and following two clauses in his contract closely, Dalton earned an impressive offseason bonus and justified why he deserves another shot with New Orleans next season.
However, the Saints need to find a quarterback that can drive their offense with big plays. Being an efficient manager is great, but the ability to make game-changing throws is what’s going to take them to the next level and sustain consistency.
To be successful, they must discover someone who can be aggressive and accurate enough to open up their deep passing attack. This could range from a veteran QB, who would bring poise and experience, or a star rookie, which would provide excitement for both the team and fans. No matter the decision they make; addressing this need must become priority number one in order for New Orleans to return as title contenders next season.