The New Orleans Saints busted out of the gates to an early lead against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Nov. 24 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, but the Panthers stood their ground and kept it close with a Christian McCaffrey receiving touchdown as time expired in the first half making it 17-15 Saints.
For the first time this season, the Saints marched into the end zone on their opening drive. Running back Latavius Murray capped of a seven-play, 75-yard drive with a 26-yard touchdown scamper. Murray carried the ball five times for 53 yards.
Midway through the first quarter, a Thomas Morstead punt ricocheted off of a Carolina Panthers player's leg that was then recovered by Saints safety J.T. Gray deep in Carolina territory. The initial ruling on the field was that the ball did not touch the Carolina player, but the ruling was overturned after a successful challenge from Saints Coach Sean Payton. Quarterback Drew Brees and company capitalized on the ensuing possession, when Brees found a wide open Tre'Quan Smith for a 13-yard touchdown completion, extending the New Orleans lead to 14-0.
Brees went 12-of-15 for 122 yards and one touchdown. He connected with Saints wideout Michael Thomas six times in the first half for 49 yards. Thomas entered Sunday's game as the NFL's leading receiver and he secured his 100th reception of the 2019 campaign.
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