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Carolina Panthers cruise past New Orleans Saints 41-10

Loss drops Saints to 5-8

Official team photos from the New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers game on Sunday, December 7, 2014. Photos by Michael C. Hebert (New Orleans Saints photos)

The Carolina Panthers raced to an early lead and then cruised to a 41-10 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The loss dropped the Saints to 5-8 with three games left. They are currently one game behind the Atlanta Falcons (5-7) in the loss column in the NFC South. The Falcons play the Green Bay Packers (9-3) on "Monday Night Football." It was the Saints' fourth consecutive home loss. Carolina ended a six-game losing streak Sunday is now 4-8-1.

The Saints' next game is Monday, Dec. 15 at the Chicago Bears (5-8).

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton had a strong outing, going 21 for 33 for 226 yards with three touchdowns passing and one rushing. He ran for 83 yards on 12 carries. He caused a scuffle in the first half following his 2-yard touchdown dive when he tried to do his Superman routine. Carolina tight end Brandon Williams was tossed out as a result of the tussle between the teams.

Jonathan Stewart was Carolina's leading rusher with 155 yards on 20 carries including a back-breaking 69-yard touchdown run on the Panthers' first play of the second half. Tight end Greg Olsen led Carolina in receptions with 10 for 72 yards.

Quarterback Drew Brees, like the entire team, had a tough outing finishing 24 for 43 for 196 yards with one touchdown (7 yards to Benjamin Watson) and one interception. Mark Ingram was the team's leading rusher with 10 carries for 43 yards while Pierre Thomas added 38 on five carries. Ingram fumbled a reception on the team's first possession, the first of consecutive Saints turnovers that allowed the Panthers to grab a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. They stretched that to 24-3 at halftime.

Marques Colston had five receptions for 72 yards while Nick Toon added four catches for 45 yards and Thomas had four for 14 yards.

Saints kicker Shayne Graham had the team's only first-half points, a 37-yard field goal. He also missed a 42-yard attempt in the second quarter.

Left tackle Terron Armstead, outside linebacker Junior Galette, cornerback Keenan Lewis and center Jonathan Goodwin all left the game with injuries.

Official team photos of Saintsations from the New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers game on Sunday, December 7, 2014. Photos by Michael C. Hebert (New Orleans Saints photos)

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