Carolina Panthers 31-34 New Orleans Saints: Lutz kicks game-winning field goal as Saints go closer to clinching NFC South title
Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara in action against the Panthers (Photo: Jonathan Bachman)

Wil Lutz kicked a game-winning field goal at the death as the New Orleans Saints strengthened their position at the top of the NFC South after a dramatic 34-31 win over the Carolina Panthers

After threatening a route in the early stages, after touchdowns from Latavius Murray and Tre’Quan Smith, the Saints were pegged back and were up by two-points at the half. 

Carolina matched New Orleans pound-for-pound as the two offenses continued to put points on the board. Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore’s touchdowns made it 31-31 in the fourth quarter. 

Panthers kicker Joey Slye missed a glorious opportunity to put his team ahead late in the game, which allowed the Saints to go down the field and set up Lutz, who kicked a game-winning field goal 

Drew Brees threw for 311-yards and three touchdowns, while his counterpart, Kyle Allen, finished the game with 256 passing yards, from 23 attempts, and also three touchdowns.

Embed from Getty Images

Murray scores touchdown on opening drive of the game

New Orleans scored on their opening drive through Murray and extended their lead further when Brees threw to Smith in the end zone. 

Allen and the Panthers wasted no time in responding, with the quarterback throwing deep down the field to Moore for a 51-yard touchdown. 

With the final drive of the half, the Panthers took the ball 53-yards in 17 plays, but took 6:30 off the clock. McCaffrey made it a two-point game when he bundled his way over the goal line, however, the two-point conversion was unsuccessful.

Embed from Getty Images

Brees finds Cook in the end zone 

After forcing a quick three-and-out to start the second-half, the Panthers were unable to hold out Brees and the Saints offense for long. 

Five plays and 47-yards later, Brees threw to tight-end Jared Cook for a 20-yard touchdown. After the Panthers made it a one-score game through Slye’s field goal, the Saints marched down the field once again. 

Cook’s 20-yard reception was followed up with a 30-yard run by Alvin Kamara. The next play saw Brees fire a pass to Michael Thomas at the back of the end zone. 

Allen connected with Moore for a 52-yard reception to set the Panthers up in the opposition half. McCaffrey scored his second touchdown of the game from four-yards.

Embed from Getty Images

Lutz kicks game-winning field goal after Slye misses chance 

Brees was picked off by Devonte Johnson, who made a huge play to intercept the pass to Smith. Carolina started their next drive on the 50-yard line. 

Pass interference was called on the Saints, which put the Panthers on the one-yard line. Moore’s terrific one-handed grab saw the receiver haul Allen’s pass in to tie the game. 

The Saints turned the ball over on downs and Ron Rivera’s side had a chance to take the lead for the first time in the game. After the two-minute warning, Slye sliced a 28-yard field goal wide right. 

With 1:56 left on the clock, New Orleans knew they just had to get within field goal range. A well-executed drive saw Brees and the offense get down to the Carolina 15-yard line. 

Unlike his counterpart, Lutz stepped up and drilled a 33-yard field goal to win the game. The Saints move to a 9-2 record and are now four games clear in their division. 

New Orleans have another divisional match next week as they head to face the Atlanta Falcons, while Carolina play the struggling Washington Redskins