The Panthers beat the Saints 10-7 on a last second FG


QUEEN CITY NEWS – A head coach was fired, a star player was sent down and amid all the chaos, including a midseason QB carousel, the Panthers closed out the season with some positives and a thrilling game-winning drive to beat the Saints. 10-7 at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans.

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Eddie Pineiro kicked the game-winning 42-yard field goal as time expired.

“We believed in Eddie,” interim head coach Steve Wilks said after the game. “He’s played a lot of football for us and he won it for us today.”

The Saints (7-10) had a chance to take the lead with less than 2 minutes to play after picking off Sam Darnold, who looked hard for DJ Moore, but Moore was in double coverage. The Saints missed a 55-yard FG attempt, giving Carolina (7-10) the ball back from prime field position at their own 42.

“I’m proud of how we finished. The boys showed up at all stages today. There is something to build on to move forward.”

Alvin Kamara led the way in the first half with 14 carries for 74 yards, while the lone score for either team came in the 5th minute of the contest when Andy Dalton threw a 25-yard pass to Chris Olawi.

Darnold then rushed into the endzone, fumbled, and offensive guard Michael Jordan recovered to tie the game midway through the third at 7-7.

Running back D’Onta Foreman and Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport were both ejected in the 3rd quarter after a heated exchange that ended with both players getting hit. “(Foreman) apologized to the guys. When one guy goes down, the next one is there to pick up the load,” Wilkes said, referring to Chubba Hubbard.

As with most offseasons, many questions remain unanswered. Above is who will be the team’s next head coach. Interim head coach Steve Wilkes, a Charlotte native, has plenty of support, including from owner David Tepper and a number of his current players.

“I’ll stay in a moment. I don’t want to think about jobs right now.”

The QB future also remains murky. The year began with a carousel of quarterbacks featuring Darnold, Baker Mayfield and PJ Walker while injured rookie Matt Corral watched from the sidelines following Lisfranc surgery. The Panthers settled on Darnold, who has consistently improved.

While Pro Bowl running back Christian McCaffrey was traded to San Francisco, Carolina also parted ways with Baker Mayfield after signing him in the offseason. When Ruhle was let go, Wilkes took over, and the following week, wide receiver Robbie Anderson was told to leave the field after arguing with Wilkes, among other coaches. Anderson was traded three days later. The Panthers also replaced several coaches when Rhule was fired, including the defensive coordinator. Speaking of defense, the secondary has struggled this season, albeit with injuries. The Panthers went so far as to bring back Josh Norman, signing him to a contract before last week’s loss to Tampa.

Whatever the future holds for the Panthers, this season was an opportunity to shed CMC’s record payroll, a head coach who appears to have more success at the college level, and a more thorough quarterback conversation with Darnold and backup Corral.

The Panthers beat the Saints 10-7 on a last second FG

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