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Game recap: Carolina Panthers 33, New Orleans Saints 14

Check out the Week 17 game action between the Saints and Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 30, 2018.

The New Orleans Saints - with the top seed and home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs secured - were defeated 33-14 by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Quarterback Drew Brees, running back Alvin Kamara, receiver Ted Ginn Jr. and three key offensive linemen were inactive for the game and the Saints pulled most of their starters at the start of the second half.

The Saints ended the regular season at 13-3, the same record they had in 2009 when they went on to win the Super Bowl. New Orleans has a first-round bye and won't know its divisional opponent until the two NFC wild-card games are played next weekend.

Andrus Peat, the team's starting left guard who opened at left tackle in place of Terron Arnstead on Sunday, left the game with a hand injury. Defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins and Alex Okafor both briefly left the field in the first half but returned to play.

Teddy Bridgewater started in place of Brees and made some nice throws but with a patchwork offensive live often had little time with the ball. Bridgewater connected with rookie receiver Tre'Quan Smith on a 9-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter to prevent a shutout. The Saints have not been shutout since a Jan. 6, 2002 38-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, a stretch of 272 regular-season games. The touchdown pass was Bridgewater's first since Dec. 27, 2015.

Taysom Hill added a 9-yard scoring run with 3:47 to play for the final score.

Key Saints stats

Teddy Bridgewater, 14 of 22 for 118 yards with one TD and one interception

Dwayne Washington, 11 carries for 108 yards

Michael Thomas, five catches for 29 yards

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