2014 DRAFT GUIDE
5 things to know after Saints paste Panthers 31-13

By BRETT MARTEL - AP Sports Writer
    2013-12-09 02:19

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.

Sometimes even the best defenses don't stand a chance. Carolina's didn't on Sunday night, when the Saints rolled to a 31-13 triumph in which New Orleans took back sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

The Panthers hadn't given up more than two touchdowns in a game all season and ranked first in scoring defense, but Brees passed for three scores in the second quarter alone and finished with four during a 30-completion, 313-yard outing.

In the process, Brees became only fifth quarterback in NFL history to eclipse 50,000 career yards. The milestone was acknowledged with an announcement over the Superdome sound system, with Brees nodding and smiling after seeing his face on stadium video boards.

Saints coach Sean Payton was amused by how matter-of-fact it all seemed, and ribbed Brees about it in the locker room during his postgame speech.

''We were kidding him in there that a lot of places, if the quarterback hits 50,000 yards, they would have fireworks, stop the game,'' Payton said. ''To be in that class ... really hits on his consistency, his durability, his availability, along with his skill set. We are happy for him, obviously proud of him.''

The Panthers, meanwhile, saw their eight-game winning streak come to a humbling halt.

Not only was their defense carved up like never before this season, but their offense struggled to move the ball.

Cam Newton was sacked five times and finished 22 of 34 for only 160 yards, his second-lowest passing total of the season.

Carolina (9-4) will have a chance to redeem itself when it hosts New Orleans (10-3) on Dec. 22.

''We have to learn from it,'' Carolina coach Ron Rivera said. ''We still have a lot of football left to play and a lot still left on the line.''

Here are five things we learned from the Saints demolition of the Panthers:

MOVING ON: The Saints proved they could put a bad game to bed quickly and regroup. Last Monday night, they were pounded 34-7 in Seattle then had a flight delay, further compressing their preparations for Carolina. By the time Sunday night arrived, the Saints looked like the same dominant team they've been all year at home, where they are 7-0.

TOUGH LOVE: The Panthers showed they are as vulnerable as any team to a lopsided loss - at least in a tough road environment. They were disappointed, but hardly devastated. They look at the way the Saints bounced back from their loss to the Seahawks and expect to do the same.

''Some tough love and us getting hit in the mouth might not be the worst thing in the world, as moving forward these games for us are going to get bigger and bigger,'' Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross said. ''The sky isn't falling.''

CLUTCH COLSTON: Now in his eighth season, former seventh-round draft choice Marques Colston continues to prove he can be a difference maker against top defenses. He led all receivers with nine catches for 125 yards and two TDs. Payton said the only reason Colston doesn't have such numbers more often is because how the Saints spread the ball around to multiple targets.

''The way we utilize receivers doesn't help in regards to postseason accolades ... but I'm glad we have him,'' Payton said.

SETTLING: Carolina may need to sharpen its red zone execution. The Panthers moved the ball well in the first quarter, twice reaching the New Orleans 20, only to settle for field goals. A sack stalled one drive and Newton threw an incompletion on third-and-goal from the 6 on another.

''Playing a team like (the Saints), field goals just aren't going to cut it,'' Newton said. ''We are just going to have to come back (Monday) and watch the film and get a lot better at that.''

PRESSURING PAIR: The Saints appear to have their best pass rush off the edge in years thanks to third-year pro Cameron Jordan and fourth-year player Junior Galette, who've combined for 20 sacks. Jordan's two sacks gave him 11 this season, making him the first Saint with double-digit sacks since Will Smith in 2009. Galette sacked Newton three times to bring his total to a career-high nine.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

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Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Anthony DavisNov 27 07:23p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Anthony Davis, WR Bruce Ellington, DL Glenn Dorsey, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Vance McDonald inactive for Week 13.

Arian FosterNov 27 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Allen BradfordNov 27 07:12p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared LB Allen Bradford, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Jeremy Lane, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, C Max Unger, TE Rashaun Allen, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 13.

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Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Latavius MurrayNov 27 04:52p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 27 04:02p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

Jordan ReedNov 27 03:02p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Dwayne AllenNov 27 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

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Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

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Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

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Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

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New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

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