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Halftime update - New Orleans Saints 21, Carolina Panthers 17

Saints trying to win second division game of the season

On the day when fans returned to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the offenses of the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers dominated the first half Sunday, with New Orleans taking a 21-17 lead into the locker room,

Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed nine consecutive passes to start - passing 7,000 career completions along the way - as the Saints scored touchdowns on their first two possessions (4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jared Cook, 1-yard Brees dive) and added a 4-yard scoring pass to Deonte Harty with two seconds left in the half.

But Teddy Bridgewater, Brees' backup for two seasons in New Orleans, led the Panthers to a 43-yard field goal, completed a 74-yard scoring bomb to receiver D.J. Moore and a 7-yard touchdown pass to Moore with 1:37 left in the half. The Panthers recorded a strip-sack of Brees late in the second quarter when defensive end Brian Burns raced around backup left tackle James Hurst. Defensive end Marquis Haynes recovered the ball, which led to the second Moore touchdown reception. Hurst replaced star left tackle Terron Armstead, who left in the second quarter with an arm injury.

The Saints (3-2), coming off their bye week, are playing the Panthers (3-3) without star receivers Michael Thomas (hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (Covid-19). Thomas hasn't played since the team's opening week win over Tampa Bay.

The game marked the return of fans to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as 3,000 fans were allowed to attend. It was the first home game this season where regular fans could attend. Two earlier home games had a small number of friends and family in attendance.

Saints stat leaders:

Drew Brees, 18 of 22 for 177 yards and two TD passes
Alvin Kamara, seven carries for 64 yards
Marquez Callaway, five catches for 56 yards

Panthers stat leaders:

Teddy Bridgewater, 11 of 13, 170 yards and two TDs
Mike Davis, five carries for five yards
D.J. Moore, two receptions for 81 yards and two TDs

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.