Photos from the New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers game at Bank of America Stadium. Photos by Michael C. Hebert (New Orleans Saints photos)
Following a 24-6 loss at the hands of the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium, the New Orleans Saints (4-7) look to snap a three-game losing streak, as they return home to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and welcome in the undefeated Carolina Panthers (11-0).
The matchup will mark the first time in franchise history that the Saints will face an undefeated team with more than eight wins coming into the game. New Orleans has faced an undefeated team with as many as eight wins twice in franchise history: in 1975 for a 20-7 home loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and in 2012 for a 31-27 home win against the Atlanta Falcons.
New Orleans opens their December slate having amassed a 22-17 record in December since Sean Payton became the head coach in 2006. They enter Sunday's game looking to build off of that mark and improve their December home record over that time to 10-10. The matchup will be the first of two consecutive games against NFC South opponents, with the Saints traveling to Tampa Bay for a Dec. 13 meeting with the Buccaneers. Since 2006, the Saints own an 18-11 record against NFC South opponents at home, including a mark of 4-5 against the Carolina Panthers. New Orleans enters Sunday's matchup having won four of their last six contests against Carolina at home. In all, New Orleans is 8-11 against the Panthers since Payton was hired in 2006.
Against Houston last week, New Orleans did not score a touchdown, snapping a streak of 155 straight games with at least one touchdown. The last time the Saints were held without a score prior to last week's game was a 13-12 loss against Detroit on Dec. 24, 2005. QB Drew Brees was 25of-44 for 228 yards, with one interception. His consecutive games streak with at least one touchdown pass ended at 45 games, the fifth-longest in NFL history. The last game in which Brees had not thrown at least one touchdown prior to last week's game was on Nov. 29, 2012 at Atlanta, which had broken an NFL-record streak of 54 contests.
RBMark Ingram rushed for 52 yards on nine attempts and caught six balls for 45 yards. He moved into seventh place on the Saints' all-time rushing list. Ingram's 1,095 total yards from scrimmage are ranked sixth in the NFL.
Defensively, the Saints defense had several standout performances, including S Jairus Byrd who posted his first interception as a Saint. LB Stephone Anthony has continued to impress, tallying 10 tackles (eight solo). With 106 tackles on the season, he became the first Saints rookie to have 100 tackles in a season since former Black and Gold standout Rickey Jackson had 125 stops in 1981.
All six points scored by the Saints came off of the leg of K Kai Forbath, who nailed both of his field goal attempts, including a career-long 57-yarder near the end of the first half, the third-longest in club history and the longest on the road in Saints franchise history.