But, Sunday in the Superdome, the wheels came off in the third quarter.
Three plays after a hotly contested replay review, Carolina’s Deangelo Williams ran 54 yards for a touchdown that sparked the Panthers to a 28-0 run and 44-38 defeat of the Saints.
The Panthers trailed 24-13 after a Drew Brees 19 yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham on the first possession of the second half. Two plays after the kickoff, Carolina tight end Greg Olsen caught a pass from Cam Newton and appeared to fumble.
Saints cornerback Johnny Patrick scooped up the ball and ran to the endzone for what the Saints thought was a touchdown. Officials ruled Olsen down, a ruling that was reversed on replay.
But, the officials said they couldn’t tell whether Patrick was in bounds when he recovered the football, so Carolina maintained possession.
The Panthers 28-0 run ended on a 12 yard touchdown run by Williams in the fourth quarter. Carolina outrushed the Saints 273-63.
The Saints set an NFL record for yards allowed in a 16 game season, 7,042. The Saints had to hold Carolina to under 282 yards. But, the Panthers had 287 yards at halftime. Carolina finished with 530 yards.