Deangelo Williams ripped off a 43-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter, and the Carolina Panthers lead the Saints 7-6 at the half. The score came after Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis intercepted a Drew Brees pass.
The Williams touchdown was a rare mistake for the Saints defense, which forced a turnover on the game's opening possession as Malcolm Jenkins made a diving interception of a tipped Cam Newton pass. The Saints also forced the Panthers to punt on their ensuing four drives. Carolina tallied just 55 yards on its first five possessions. The Panthers were 0-4 on third downs at that point.
In his first action with the New Orleans Saints, Shayne Graham kicked a pair of field goals. Graham connected from both 40 yards and 24 yards out. A successful New Orleans onside kick and a season-long 34-yard run from running back Mark Ingram led to the second field goal.
The bad news is that rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro was carted off the field in the first quarter after injuring his left ankle. Drew Brees was also sacked a season-high five times in the first half with rookie tackle Terron Armstead surrendering two of those sacks.
New Orleans punted on both of its first two drives. Drew Brees was 9-of-11 for 54 yards in the first quarter but finished the half 17-of-24 for 124 yards and the interception.