It wasn't a singular play that turned the tide for the New Orleans Saints in Sunday's 27-24 victory over Carolina in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It was a singular drive.
A singular, classic, two-minute drive – actually, 95 total seconds – allowed the Saints (4-2) to take a halftime lead and seize momentum from the Panthers (3-4) and win their third consecutive game after a two-game losing streak.
New Orleans trailed 17-14 with 1:37 left in the first half after the Panthers scored touchdowns on consecutive possessions, the second one being a nine-play, 65-yard drive that erased New Orleans' 14-3 lead and put Carolina in an enviable position – 97 seconds away from entering halftime with the lead, and opening the second half with the ball on offense.
But Saints quarterback Drew Brees isn't a legend for no reason. He has orchestrated his share of successful two-minute drives, and Sunday's orchestration was exceptional even by his lofty standards.
A touchback meant the possession started on New Orleans' 25-yard line.
First down, Brees passed to Kamara for three yards. Second-and-7, completion to receiver Deonte Harris for 18, to the Saints' 46, and clock stops at 1:07 because Harris was able to run out of bounds.
First-and-10 from the 46, Brees to Harris for another seven yards and on second-and-3, Kamara ran for 4 and a first down. Clock running, first-and-10, Brees deep down the middle to tight end Jared Cook for 22 yards, to the Carolina 21-yard line. Saints timeout, 24 seconds left.
Next play, Brees to Kamara, who wove to the 4 for first-and-goal; Brees spiked to stop the clock, five seconds left.
Next play, Brees finds Harris to his right, just inside the goal line for the score with two seconds remaining in the half.
Eight plays, 75 yards, 95 seconds and New Orleans took a 21-17 lead into halftime, instead of carrying a 17-14 deficit.
The Saints never trailed again.