The New Orleans Saints had their hands full against the Carolina Panthers but walked away victorious due to a better kicking game.
One of the areas that the New Orleans Saints had the biggest advantage in on our roster breakdown against the Carolina Panthers was special teams. Both the Saints and Panthers proved why in the Saints’ 34-31 victory over Carolina.
Panthers’ kicker Joey Slye attempted a 28-yard field goal just after the two-minute warning to put the Panthers up 34-31 with the Saints not having any timeouts. Slye pushed the kick right and missed his third kick of the game, missing two extra points earlier in the game.
Drew Brees and the Saints offense took over at its own 20 and went to work. Brees and the offense did what it usually does in these situations and marched down the field to set Wil Lutz up for a 33-yard field goal.
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Lutz proved to be the more reliable kicker as his kick narrowly inched inside the right post, ironically reminding Slye and the Panthers that if his kick was three feet to the right they would have led the game.
Slye’s attempt came after controversy. On third and three at the Saints’ five-yard line, Kyle Allen threw an incomplete pass only for Ron Rivera to throw the challenge flag for defensive pass interference. The call was overturned, the Saints were called with PI and the Panthers took over at the three-yard line with a fresh set of downs.
The defense clamped up and got the stop, which included a huge sack by Marcus Davenport on third down, forcing Slye to miss the kick.
The pass interference called was controversial because of the official’s tendency to not overturn those challenges as well as the history between the Saints and the referees. Personally, I agree that it was pass interference but I was shocked that they reversed it.
It was pass interference by definition but just because of the precedent that they have already set, it did not appear that they would overturn this one. They did and the Saints’ fans in the Superdome let the refs here it.
This came after a game full of penalties by the Saints, which included Cameron Jordan attempting to punch the ball out and instead elbowing Kyle Allen in the helmet.
Some of the penalties were questionable, but for the most part, the penalties were just. I get the history with the refs but a lot of the complaining about the calls were simply people crying over sour grapes.
The one thing I can agree with is the lack of calls on the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers had only three penalties for 25 yards. And while I did not see anything in particular that stands out that did not get called, I am sure you could watch the game with a keen eye and find things that the Panthers got away with.
I don’t think there was any ill-will by the refs, I just think the Panthers happened to be lucky to get away with more. However, to be fair, Carolina had the fourth-fewest penalties heading into this week, so they are a disciplined team.
It is fun to get mad at the referees and that is part of being a sports fan. Just remember that at the end of the day, the Saints emerged victorious to avoid any controversy.