(WVUE) - The Saints' chances of making the playoffs took a massive hit tonight in Charlotte, falling to the Panthers 23-20. The Saints (4-6) scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth, but it still wasn't enough.
Drew Brees finished the contest going 35 of 44 passing, 285 yards, including two passing touchdowns.
The Saints finally made into the end zone in the fourth quarter. Brees connected with Brandon Coleman for a 9-yard touchdown, cutting the Saints deficit to 23-13.
The Saints would score another touchdown in the fourth quarter, their final points of the night, Brees to Coby Fleener for an 8-yard touchdown. That cut the lead to 23-20.
The Saints trailed the Panthers 20-3 at half, and the kicking game was to blame again. For the second week in a row Will Lutz got a field goal blocked, and it was returned for a score. The Black and Gold momentarily caught a break when officials flagged a Panther for a block in the back.
A few plays later, Cam Newton would make amends for the penalty, hitting Ted Ginn, Jr. for a 40-yard connection. The fantastic catch made the score 20-3 right before half.
The Panthers got on the board early after forcing a Brees fumble, and getting the recovery off the sack. With a short field though, the Panthers could only muster a 32-yard field goal by Graham Gano. It was one of three field
goals on the night for Gano.
The Saints answered with a field goal of their own on the very next drive of the game. Brees was 7 of 7 passing for 42 yards on the sequence, but settled for a Will Lutz 27-yard field goal to knot things up at 3.