CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Alvin Kamara had 103 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown, the Saints’ defense put the clamps on Cam Newton and New Orleans defeated the Carolina Panthers 12-9 on Monday night to take a big step toward locking up home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.
New Orleans’ defense, which has been among the best in the league the last six weeks, held Newton to 131 yards passing, sacked him four times and forced two turnovers.
Carolina’s only scores came off a trick play on fourth down – a 50-yard touchdown pass from Christian McCaffrey to Chris Manhertz – and an interception return by Donte Jackson on a 2-point conversion attempt.
Carolina was held to 247 yards and 13 first downs.
Drew Brees had 203 yards passing for the Saints (12-2), who took a one-game lead in the NFC over the Rams.
The Panthers have lost six straight after a 6-2 start.
The loss essentially eliminated the Panthers from the playoffs, although they’re not officially out yet.
Barring a miracle, they’ll miss the postseason and finish no better than 8-8. Thus, they’ll extend their run to at least their first 25 seasons (next year is their 25th) without ever having back-to-back winning records at the conclusion of a campaign.
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