Charlotte, N.C. - New Orleans Saints linebacker Junior Galette made the play of the first half Thursday night when he sacked Carolina quarterback Cam Newton and forced a fumble that was recovered by Curtis Lofton at the 4-yard line.
Two plays later running back Mark Ingram plowed in from three yards out to give the Saints a 7-0 lead. The Saints would add a 1-yard TD pass from Drew Brees to Jimmy Graham in the closing seconds of the second quarter for a 14-0 lead at halftime.
The second touchdown capped an 85-yard, 15-play drive in the final two minutes of the half. The Saints were able to score when Carolina was called for pass interference on Robert Meachem while he was trying to catch a pass in the end zone. The penalty gave the Saints a first-and-goal at the 1.
The Saints had opportunities to score on their first two possessions, driving deep into Carolina territory only to have both drives end with turnovers, a Drew Brees interception that bounced off Kenny Stills and a Brees fumble caused by teammate Erik Lorig.
The Saints' defense put constant pressure on Newton, forcing many errant throws. Defensive end Cameron Jordan also had a sack. Newton was 5 of 15 for 47 yards and also was picked off by cornerback Corey White.
Brees was 15 of 21 for 172 yards.