The Series: With the 23-10 victory, Carolina earned a split of the season series with New Orleans and leads the all-time series 17-13. The Panthers lost to the Saints, 30-20, earlier this season at the Louisiana Superdome (11/8/09). Since 1995, Carolina and New Orleans have split the season series nine times, and one of the two clubs has swept the season series on six occasions.
Southern Comfort: The Panthers ended the 2009 season with a 4-2 record against their NFC South foes - splitting with Atlanta and New Orleans and sweeping Tampa Bay. Carolina has a 29-19 overall mark in the NFC South since the division was formed in 2002.
Big Chill: The temperature at kickoff was 30 degrees, making it the coldest home game and equaling the temperature of the fourth-coldest game in Panthers history.
|3||01/12/97||Lambeau Field |
Green Bay, Wis.
|Green Bay||L, 13-30|
|25||12/01/02||Cleveland Browns Stadium |
|28||11/09/97||Mile High Stadium |
|30||12/10/00||Arrowhead Stadium |
Kansas City, Mo.
|Kansas City||L, 14-15|
|30||01/03/10||Bank of America Stadium |
|New Orleans||W, 23-10|
|32||12/26/99||Three Rivers Stadium |
|32||12/04/06||Lincoln Financial Field |
|33||01/18/04||Lincoln Financial Field |
|34||12/10/95||Memorial Stadium |
|San Francisco||L, 10-31|
|34||12/03/00||Ericsson Stadium |
|St. Louis||W, 16-3|
|34||12/21/08||Giants Stadium |
East Rutherford, N.J.
|NY Giants||L, 28-34|
Inactives: The following eight players were inactive for the Panthers: quarterback Hunter Cantwell (third quarterback), linebacker Mortty Ivy, defensive tackle Derek Landri, tackle Rob Petitti, running back Tyrell Sutton, defensive end Hilee Taylor, running back DeAngelo Williams and cornerback C.J. Wilson.
For Starters: Second-year wide receiver Kenny Moore made his first-career start in place of Steve Smith, who was put on injured reserve (1/1/10) with a broken left arm. Running back Jonathan Stewart started his third game of the season in place of DeAngelo Williams, who was inactive because of a sprained ankle sustained versus Minnesota (12/20/09). Dante Rosario started for the eighth time this year as Carolina began in a two-tight end set.
Defensively, the Panthers did not have any changes to their starting unit. It marked the first time this season that Carolina fielded the same defensive starters in consecutive games. The Panthers also employed these same starting defenders for games versus Tampa Bay (12/6/09) and at the New York Giants (12/27/09) when they opened in their base defense. Carolina used 14 different starting lineups in the first 14 games with 20 players making starts. Only four players - linebacker Jon Beason, cornerback Chris Gamble, defensive tackle Damione Lewis, and cornerback Richard Marshall - started every game on defense in 2009.
Double Trouble: Running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart became the first set of teammates since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to each rush for more than 1,100 yards in the same season -Stewart with 1,133 and Williams with 1,117. Five teams previously boasted two players with 1,000 yards rushing in a season. Stewart exceeded 1,100 yards with a seven-yard run late in the second quarter. Williams was selected to his first Pro Bowl earlier this week.
Hot Stew: Stewart produced his third consecutive 100-yard rushing effort with 125 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries to tie the team record for the second-most consecutive 100-yard rushing performances with three - previously accomplished twice, most recently by Fred Lane in 1997. Williams in 2008, Nick Goings in 2004 and Stephen Davis in 2003 share the team record with four. Stewart began the streak with 109 yards and one touchdown on 25 attempts versus Minnesota (12/20/09) before tallying a team-record 206 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries at the New York Giants (12/27/09).
Stewart rushed for more than 100 yards five times this season, including in four of the last five games. He equaled the team record for the third-most 100-yard games in team history - previously accomplished twice, most recently by Goings in 2004. Williams holds the team record with eight in 2008.
The second-year running back scored on a career-long 67-yard run on the second play of the game, surpassing his previous long of 52 yards just one week ago. Stewart matched the team record for the second-most consecutive games rushing for a touchdown with three - previously accomplished nine times, most recently by Stewart in 2008. Williams holds the team record with eight.
Stewart finished the season as the Panthers' leading rusher with a career-high 1,133 yards and 10 touchdowns on 221 attempts for an average of 5.13 yards per carry. His 1,133 yards and 10 touchdowns both rank as the third-highest single-season totals in franchise history while his 5.13 yards per carry stand as the fourth best in team history.
What A Rush: Behind an offensive line featuring Travelle Wharton at left tackle, Mackenzy Bernadeau at left guard, Ryan Kalil at center, Keydrick Vincent at right guard and Geoff Schwartz at right tackle, the Panthers accumulated 178 yards rushing and one touchdown on 37 attempts for an average of 4.8 yards per carry.
Carolina averaged 156.1 rushing yards per game and set team records with 2,498 rushing yards, 525 rushing attempts and 123 rushing first downs this season. The Panthers eclipsed the previous marks of 2,437 rushing yards in 2008, 522 rushing attempts in 2003 and 118 rushing first downs in 2008. Carolina's average of 4.76 yards per attempt and 18 rushing touchdowns stand as the second-most in franchise history behind the team records of 4.84 yards per attempt and 30 rushing touchdowns in 2008.
Moore Matt Under Center: Quarterback Matt Moore completed 14-of-23 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions to produce a 96.6 quarterback rating. He threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett in the second quarter. Moore completed 85-of-138 passes for 1,053 yards and eight touchdowns with two interceptions to produce a 98.5 quarterback rating in seven games with five starts this season.
In eight career starts, including the last three games of the 2007 season and the final five games of the 2009 campaign, Moore has posted a 6-2 record as a starter. Seven of his eight starts have come against teams with winning records with the exception being Tampa Bay (12/6/09). In those eight starts, Moore has completed 128-of-205 passes for 1,554 yards and 11 touchdowns with three interceptions to generate a 97.5 quarterback rating.
Moose Tracks: Wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad paced the Panthers with a season-high seven catches for 85 yards. He finished the season second on the team with 53 receptions for 581 yards and one touchdown. Muhammad ranks first in franchise history with 696 catches and 9,255 receiving yards, is tied for first with 50 receiving touchdowns, stands second with 50 total touchdowns and 27 games with 100 or more receiving yards, and is third with 304 points scored.
Ball Security: The Panthers did not commit any turnovers for a team-record fourth consecutive game and for the sixth time this season. Carolina had previously not turned the ball over in two consecutive games on six occasions - most recently at the New York Giants (12/21/08) and at New Orleans (12/28/08). The last team to have four consecutive games without a turnover was New England in the last three games of 2006 and the first game of 2007. The Panthers' six games without a turnover are the most in team history, surpassing the previous record of five in 2008. Carolina committed only 10 turnovers in the last 10 games after committing 21 in the first six.
Takeaway/Giveaway: Carolina forced three turnovers on an interception by defensive end Julius Peppers and fumble recoveries by cornerbacks Dante Wesley and Richard Marshall. The Panthers did not commit any turnovers to finish with a plus-three turnover ratio. The three takeaways resulted in six points for Carolina.
The Panthers finished the season with a plus-six turnover margin after forcing 37 turnovers on 22 interceptions and 15 fumble recoveries and committing 31 turnovers on 20 interceptions and 11 fumbles lost. In the final 10 nine games Carolina collected 30 takeaways and committed only 10 turnovers for a plus-20 turnover ratio after generating just seven takeaways and turning the ball over 21 times for a negative-14 turnover ratio in the first six games.
Stingy Defense: The Panthers held the Saints, who began the game as the NFL's highest scoring team with an average of 33.3 points, to a season-low 10 points. Carolina yielded 213 total net yards to the Saints, their lowest output of the season. New Orleans led the NFL in total offense with an average of 416.5 yards. The Panthers prevented the Saints - who were ranked fourth in the NFL in third-down efficiency - from converting their first nine third downs and allowed only three-of-15 third-down conversions for the game.
Kasay Kicks Back: Kicker John Kasay connected on all three of his field-goal attempts, converting from 41, 39 and 37 yards, and both of his extra-point chances. He was successful on 22-of-27 field-goal attempts and 31-of-32 extra-point opportunities for a team-leading 97 points this season. Kasay ranks seventh in NFL history with 408 made field goals and ninth with 1,731 points scored. He is the Panthers' all-time leader with 1,390 points scored and 328 field goals.
Baker's Treat: Punter Jason Baker punted a season-high eight times and generated a gross average of 42.5 yards and net average of 41.1 yards with one inside the 20, no touchbacks and long of 52. He finished the season with a gross average of 44.1 yards and net average of 36.6 yards with 22 punts inside the 20, four touchbacks, one block and long of 61 yards. Baker ranks as the Panthers' all-time leader with 409 punts and 128 inside the 20
Claw Marks: Wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett scored his first career touchdown on a 30-yard reception in the second quarter. He finished the game with career highs of five catches and 68 yards, bettering his previous bests of four receptions at New Orleans (11/8/09) and 43 yards at the New York Jets (11/29/09)...Rookie running back Mike Goodson established career highs with 13 carries and 44 yards.
Fleur-de-Lis: Saints punter Thomas Morstead set a record for the most punts inside the 20 by a Panthers' opponent with seven. He surpassed the previous mark of six by Jeff Feagles for the New York Giants (12/10/06).