Friday, 20 April, 2018

Panthers Facing Questions About Cam Newton's Quick Return

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Melinda Barton | 13 January, 2018, 06:41

The story of the New Orleans Saints' surprisingly successful season was the long-awaited emergence of the roster around Drew Brees, after the star quarterback had nearly single-handedly led New Orleans to so many successful campaigns in the past.

Cam Newton drove Carolina to a first down at the New Orleans 21, but after an incompletion he was pressured and called for intentional grounding.

Buffalo's Stephen Hauschka kicked a 31-yard field goal and Jacksonville's Josh Lambo answered from 44 yards in the final two minutes of the second quarter to leave the clubs deadlocked 3-3 at half-time. But he was exactly what the Saints were looking for when they chose to trade Cooks to the New England Patriots for a first-round draft pick.

The Saints may have taken a sledge hammer to the exhausted sports cliché, "It's hard to beat a team three times in one year" but they showed it's incredibly difficult to beat a team three times the exact same way.

"It was great", Brees said of the celebration.

"It's been a blessing, today was a blessing for us", said Ginn, "You know we put all the hard work into this week we knew what we was getting ourselves into". Obviously, there are plenty of struggles and plenty of adversity. But the Saints also did a stellar job in free agency - which had arguably been the team's biggest shortcoming in recent years as they suffered through three straight 7-9 seasons.

"Coaches, players on the sideline are telling you, 'Get down, get down, '" Saturday said, adding, "If he walks off, they set the play clock and all the sudden you're being hurried up". Who gives a crap about us? "I'm not going to take the coward way and point somebody else out". "We moved the ball pretty much at will the whole game".

"'Find your matchups and let's go make some plays.' And that's what we were able to do". We can't keep pretending this isn't an issue. That man's the best quarterback in the game.

"We trust our system", Brees said Sunday night at the Superdome. Probably, but that's not how Sean Payton and Drew Brees operate.

METAIRIE, La. - Ted Ginn Jr.'s first career touchdown reception in the playoffs came Sunday at age 32. He later completed pinpoint passes to Hill and Michael Thomas on another scoring drive. He was swiftly cleared and returned to the game to throw a 56-yard touchdown pass. It was Brees' placement that made him impossible to stop on Sunday, when he consistently exploited tight coverage and threw receivers open all afternoon. Panthers safety Mike Adams intercepted it, turning it into something like a short punt.

"You can't be more proud of the defense". And that's what you hate to have as a defense. "They were playing strong and they were on their game, this time". Jordan, a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, recorded a sack, two quarterback hits and two pass deflections in his team's 31-26 victory.

"But here I am standing as a victor".

I asked Newton a question about what Jordan said in September following New Orleans' 34-13 victory over Carolina. I'm gonna send him a nice little bottle of Jordan wine.

Enjoying the moment, indeed. "This is 2017. That's a long time ago".