Charlotte, N.C. - The New Orleans Saints forced their first turnover and grabbed their first halftime lead of the season, 17-6, Sunday at Bank of America Stadium vs. the Carolina Panthers.
Cornerback P.J. Williams jumped a route in the second quarter and picked off a Cam Newton pass to give the Saints the ball at the Carolina 24-yard line. Four plays later quarterback Drew Brees faked a handoff to Zach Line and then hit Brandon Coleman with an 11-yard touchdown pass.
Second-year receiver Michael Thomas was Brees' preferred target most of the half with six catches for 61 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. The Saints ended the half with a 33-yard Wil Lutz field goal.
Carolina scored on two Graham Gano field goals (32 and 48 yards). The Panthers were forced ton settle for the first field goal after Saints defensive end Cam Jordan sacked Newton.
New Orleans Saints stats
Drew Brees, 12 of 17 for 112 yards with two TDs
Mark Ingram, five carries for 25 yards
Michael Thomas, six catches for 61 yards and a TD
Carolina Panthers stats
Cam Newton, 6 of 10 for 21 yards and one interception
Jonathan Stewart, 11 carries for 51 yards
Christian McCaffrey, three catches for 15 yards