The New Orleans Saints earned a hard fought 27-24 victory over the Carolina Panthers with 3,000 fans in attendance for the first time this season at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, Oct. 25.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees found a rhythm on the opening possession, driving 75 yards which ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jared Cook. The score marked the first time the Saints scored a touchdown on the opening possession of a game in the 2020 season.
With two of his top targets inactive for Sunday's contest, Brees relied on undrafted rookie Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris, Tre'Quan Smith and Alvin Kamara in the passing game. Star receivers Michael Thomas (hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (Covid-19) were absent. Thomas hasn't played since the team's opening week win over Tampa Bay.
Brees completed 29-of-36 passes for 287 yards and two scores. In a standout performance, Callaway hauled in eight catches for 75 yards. The Saints were 12 of 14 on third down and never punted.
The Saints rushing attack, led by Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray, combined for 130 yards. Kamara also notched eight receptions for for 65 yards.
After a 16-yard reception in the second half, Kamara joined Roger Craig and Christian McCaffrey as the only players with at least 2,500 rushing and 2,500 receiving yards in their first four seasons in NFL history.
New Orleans' defense had a rough outing, but defensive end Marcus Davenport stepped up when it mattered most. Davenport sacked former Saint Teddy Bridgewater for an 8-yard loss with two minutes remaining, knocking Carolina out of reasonable field goal range. Joey Slye attempted a 65-yard field goal to tie the game came up just short.
"I thought the sack on third down was critical," Saints Coach Sean Payton said during his postgame press conference. "It put them in a much different position. It was a good win."
Teddy Bridgewater, who played two seasons with the Saints before joining Carolina this season, completed 23-of-28 passes for 254 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown strike to wideout D.J. Moore.
The New Orleans Saints (4-2) travel to Chicago to face the Bears at 3:25 central time Sunday, Nov. 1. The Panthers (3-4) host the Falcons on "Thursday Night Football."
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New Orleans Saints fans and cheer on the team from inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the Carolina Panthers in Week 7 of the 2020 NFL season.