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Rapid Reactions: Panthers can't stop Saints, fall 27-24

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CHARLOTTE — The Panthers could not get the Saints off the field Sunday and fell in New Orleans, 27-24.

New Orleans finished 12-of-14 on third down and didn't punt the entire game. The 85.7 conversion rate set a franchise record for the highest the Panthers have allowed in a game.

Despite that, the Panthers had a chance to tie with two minutes left, but kicker Joey Slye was just short on a 65-yard field goal.

With the loss, Carolina is now 3-4 on the season and facing a quick turnaround for Thursday Night Football against the Falcons in Week 8.

Here are a few rapid reactions from Sunday's contest:

BREES, SAINTS OFFENSE TOUGH TO STOP

Even though the Saints didn't have top wide receivers Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, quarterback Drew Brees still carved up Carolina's passing defense. The future Hall of Famer finished the game 29-of-36 for 287 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In the first half alone, he was 18-of-22 passing for 177 yards with those two touchdowns. He had a rushing touchdown as well, diving over the pile for a 1-yard score in the second quarter.

Running backs Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray had their share of significant plays, with Kamara totaling 148 yards from scrimmage, his fifth straight game against the Panthers with 100-plus scrimmage yards.

Backup wide receivers Marquez Callaway and Donte Harris also helped keep the Saints' offense humming. An undrafted rookie out of Tennessee, Callaway finished with eight receptions for 75 yards. Harris had four receptions for 46 yards with a touchdown.

BIG PLAY DJ

Wide receiver DJ Moore had a pair of touchdowns in the first half, scoring the first on an explosive play.

On second-and-14 from the Carolina 26, Moore was wide open down the middle of the field, and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater hit him in stride. The wideout did the rest, running 33 yards after the catch to pay dirt for a 74-yard score.

Later in the second quarter, Bridgewater sent Moore on a jet sweep motion from left to right, gave him a pitch pass from the shotgun, and Moore avoided tacklers to get in the end zone for a 7-yard score.

BURNS WITH THE STRIP-SACK

Defensive coordinator Phil Snow said this week that he expected to see Brian Burns raise his productivity over the next few weeks, and the defensive end made Snow look prophetic midway through the second quarter.

With the Saints in Panthers' territory for the third time in three possessions, Burns kept New Orleans off the board by strip-sacking Brees. Burns dipped under Saints left tackle James Hurst and hit Brees just as he was preparing to throw. The ball squirted to the left, where defensive end Marquis Haynes picked up his first fumble recovery of the season.

The takeaway led to points, as the Panthers drove down the field and scored on Moore's 7-yard touchdown.

RESPONSE POINTS

While the Panthers got what they needed after Burns' takeaway, the defense couldn't keep the Saints out of the end zone before halftime.

Though New Orleans had only 1:37 and one timeout, Brees marched his squad down the field. With just five seconds left and no timeouts on second-and-goal from the 4, Brees found Harris for a touchdown just inside the goal line.

The Saints didn't even face a third down on the possession, driving 75 yards in eight plays and 1:35. That gave New Orleans a 21-17 lead heading into halftime.

View in-game photos of Week 7 of Panthers at Saints in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

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