Punch out: Saints defense carries the day vs Panthers, Saints one win from #1 seed

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 17: D.J. Moore of the Carolina Panthers fumbles against the New Orleans Saints in the third quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 17, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The Saints defense, stellar recently, stepped it up to notch a 12-9 win Monday night in Carolina.

In the third quarter, with the Panthers driving, Saints safety Vonn Bell punched the ball out of the hands of Carolina receiver David Moore. The ball was recovered by Saints linebacker AJ Klein at the New Orleans 16 yard line.

The Saints then drove 11 plays, 84 yards, a drive that ended early in the fourth quarter with a 16 yard touchdown run by Alvin Kamara.

On the subsequent two point try, former LSU Tiger Donte’ Jackson intercepted Drew Brees and returned the ball for two points for the Panthers.

The Saints got two field goals, 46 yards and 24 yards from Wil Lutz.

Carolina scored its only offensive points on a trick play, a 50 yard fourth down pass from running back Christian McCaffery to Chris Manhertz.

The Saints held Carolina to 247 total yards.

Von Bell was stellar for the Saints on defense. He had 7 combined tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 quarterback hurry, a pass defensed, and a forced fumble.

The Saints 12-2, have a one game lead over the Rams in the race for the NFC’s #1 seed and home field throughout the playoffs. However, the lead is essentially two games, because the Saints own the tiebreak over the Rams thanks to a November 4th win over Los Angeles in the Superdome.

The Saints can clinch the NFC #1 seed with a win Sunday at the Superdome against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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