To call the Saints' start on offense "underwhelming" would have been understating.
Two possessions, in which New Orleans totaled four yards and one first down (it came courtesy of a defensive holding penalty), was about as inauspicious a start as could have been conjured for New Orleans' Wild Card playoff game against Carolina in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
But one play, on the Saints' third possession, changed that.
One play, after an incompletion on first-and-10 from the Saints' 20-yard line, unlocked the offensive floodgates for the NFC South Division champions.
On that play, receiver Ted Ginn said he wasn't the primary target. According to Ginn, he was the clear-out guy for Michael Thomas. But when the safety began to cheat toward Thomas, it became a footrace between 32-year-old Ginn, and 24-year-old Carolina cornerback James Bradberry.
Overwhelming advantage, Ginn.
Ginn, diagonally slicing from left to right, simply accounted for more ground – faster – than Bradberry could account for in retreat. And by the time Drew Brees lofted a pass that hit Ginn in stride 41 yards downfield, it was too late for the Panthers to do anything about it.
Bradferry fell on his tackle attempt, which Ginn easily ran away from. And free safety Kurt Coleman even was more helpless, as Ginn sped away from him toward the front right pylon.
That touchdown didn't just give the Saints a 7-0 lead in what became a 31-26 victory. It alerted the Panthers defensive strategy which challenged Brees and the Saints' passing game was about to be met with a level of quick-strike precision that, perhaps, was unexpected by Carolina.
The Panthers never really did catch up to Ginn (he caught three more passes that totaled 35 yards), and when Ginn wasn't giving them headaches, Thomas (eight catches for 131 yards) was.
Check out the action between the Saints and Panthers in the Wild Card playoff game.