Panthers suffer tough loss to Saints, face uncertainty

The Carolina Panthers’ season ended in a heap atop sacked quarterback Cam Newton, halting a late comeback bid in a 31-26 loss to the host New Orleans Saints in Sunday’s NFC Wild Card playoff game.

Drew Brees passed for 376 yards and two touchdowns as the Saints beat the Panthers for the third time this season to advance to eliminate Carolina and advance to the divisional round. They will face the Vikings in Minnesota next Sunday.

The Saints went for a fourth-and-2 at the Carolina 47-yard line with 2 minutes left, but Brees was intercepted by Mike Adams. Newton drove Carolina to a first down at the New Orleans 21, but after an incompletion he was called for intentional grounding. After an incompletion in the end zone, Vonn Bell sacked Newton with 6 seconds left.

The Panthers enter an offseason of uncertainty following a scandal-induced ownership change and free agency for several key players, including Newton. However, Carolina signed coach Ron Rivera to a three-year contract extension through 2020 on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of NFL

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