Saints rally falls short at Carolina

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CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 17: Ted Ginn #19 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against Sterling Moore #24 of the New Orleans Saints in the third quarter during the game at Bank of America Stadium on November 17, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – For the 2016 New Orleans Saints, it was a familiar ending.

The Saints lost at Carolina Thursday night, 23-20. New Orleans, 4-6, has now lost 5 games by a total of 15 points.

The big play in the game came in the final minute of the first half. Wil Lutz’s 38 yard field goal attempt was blocked and returned for an apparent Carolina touchdown by Luke Kuechly for 88 yards.

But, a block in the back penalty on Carolina negated the touchdown, for one play.

On the next play, Cam Newton found Ted Ginn Jr. in the back of the end zone for a 40 yard touchdown. The play was originally called incomplete pass, but was reversed on replay. Sixteen seconds remained in the half.

Carolina led 23-3 before the Saints scored 17 points in the fourth quarter. Drew Brees threw touchdown passes of 9 yards to Brandon Coleman, and 8 yards to Coby Fleener.

The Saints were one defensive stop from tying or winning the game. But, Cam Newton threw an 18 yard first down completion to wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin on third and 10 from the Carolina 15 with 2:39 to play.

The Saints got the ball back with 14 seconds to play in the game.

The Saints and Panthers fell two games behind the Atlanta Falcons who lead the NFC South with a 6-4 record.

Tampa Bay, 4-5, is currently in second place in the NFC South. The Bucs play at Kansas City, Sunday.