What It Means
The Panthers were outclassed in their biggest game since Super Bowl 50.
Mistakes and missed tackles doomed them against the (9-3) Saints, who regained first place in the NFC South. They now have what amounts to a two-game lead over the (8-4) Panthers, who were swept by New Orleans this season.
Carolina will head into the final quarter of the season with three straight home games starting with a visit from the (10-2) Vikings. The Panthers aren't yet in "must-win" mode, but they'll be in danger of sliding out of the playoff picture if they don't bounce back next Sunday.
—Linebacker Thomas Davis, who strained his hamstring against the Jets, played sparingly. He spent the entire game rotating with David Mayo.
—Linebacker Shaq Thompson walked back to the locker room before the half after tweaking his left ankle/foot. He returned to start the third quarter.
—Running back Jonathan Stewart needed help getting off the field after he was stuffed on third-and-1 in the second quarter. After trainers looked at Stewart's left foot/ankle, he came back for the Panthers' next series.
—Kevon Seymour replaced Daryl Worley in the starting lineup, but the two corners continued their rotation after Worley checked in for the Saints' third series.
—Cam Newton drew his third roughing the passer flag in the past two weeks. Before this little stretch, Newton's last roughing the passer call was at Oakland last November. Before that, it was during the 2014 season.
—The Panthers' opening touchdown was their first on an opening drive this season and just their third in the first quarter.
—Mark Ingram's 72-yard run in the second quarter was the longest rush against the Panthers this season, besting Miami's Kenyan Drake by six yards.
—Rookie running back Alvin Kamara was as advertised. The slippery Saint never seemed to go down on first contact, a trait the Panthers were well aware of heading into Sunday.
—Wideout Devin Funchess was held without a reception until the final minute of the third quarter and finished with four catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. He had averaged nearly six catches and 98 yards in his previous three games.