The New Orleans Saints travel to?take on the Carolina Panthers at 6:15 p.m. on Monday as the first game of a Monday Night Football doubleheader.
The Saints are looking to move to 1-0 following a win in the season opener over the Tennessee Titans. The Panthers are seeking their first victory after dropping a 24-10 game at Atlanta last week.
Panthers starting quarterback Bryce Young struggled in his debut as the starting quarterback, and an experienced Saints defense will be looking to put plenty of pressure on the Alabama product.
The second game of the MNF doubleheader is Browns-Steelers, which kicks off at 7:15 p.m. on ABC.
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FINAL - Saints 20, Panthers 17
UPDATED, 9:22 p.m.: Saints recover the onside kick, with D'Marco Jackson doing the honors. Now they need one first down to kill the clock.
Taysom at quarterback. Not even going to risk a handoff here. And it works like a beauty. It's a first down, Hill slides down, and now the Saints can kneel this game out with just 1:07 left.
Final score: Saints 20, Panthers 17, and a 2-0 start for the first time in 10 years. We'll be live on the postgame show here in about 20 minutes. Join us!
UPDATED, 9:18 p.m.: Pass in the flat to Thielen, and he reaches for the pylon and has a touchdown. That's the first touchdown allowed by the Saints this season, and it took 58 minutes and 44 seconds.
Of course, that means there's still 1:16 left for the Panthers. They'll go for two to make this a 3-point game. Young rolls out and has Thielen again. It's 20-17 Saints with 1:14 left, and I would think we'll see an onside kick now. Two timeouts left for Carolina.
For you gamblers, that also makes this game a push on Saints -3.
UPDATED, 9:16 p.m.: The Panthers scratch across a first down and set up a third-and-1 from their 46 before the 2-minute warning hits, but it's going to be difficult for this offense to get enough going downfield to make this a one-score game again with any meaningful time left on the clock.
Young misses on another deep ball on third down, so it's fourth-and-1. Panthers will go, obviously, and Chuba Hubbard has a big hole and an easy first down. But the clock also continues to tick. It's at 1:37 by the next snap.
Couple of short passes for another first down, both out of bounds to stop the clock. Now we may see the Saints try to stiffen up a bit, with the ball on their 25 and 1:26 left. Instead, it's a nice post route to Mingo and one of the first downfield completions all day, down to the 3. Mingo probably could have scored if he had turned upfield.
Instead, it's first-and-goal at the 3, and the Saints will call a timeout here, presumably to let guys catch their breath. There's 1:21 left, so this game is not over yet.
Clutch in the 4th. Weird. ?— David Carr (@DCarr8) September 19, 2023
UPDATED, 9:04 p.m.:?It's the return of the Rashid Shaheed "Freaking. Run." play, with Carr hitting Shaheed on a go route in a very similar situation as last week to set the Saints up.
A couple of plays later, it's a swing pass to Olave, who gets a big block from Foster Moreau (I think) and tiptoes into the end zone for what should be a game-sealing touchdown.
Hold on. They've reviewed this, and Olave stepped out of bounds at the 7. So not game over yet. A field goal would leave the Panthers in it, of course, so Saints need to punch this in.
Hill gets 5 on a run. Jones gets the other 2. He has two touchdowns tonight, the first two of his career, and THAT one is going to stand.
Barring something disastrous, the Saints are going to be 2-0 for the first time since 2013.
UPDATED, 8:57 p.m.: A big pass interference call on Paulson Adebo — second important flag against him — puts the Panthers in the red zone. A rare trip for them, just their second of the day.
But on third-and-short, Young takes a sack from Demario Davis, and the Panthers have no choice to go for it now: They'll have to settle for a third Eddy Pineiro field goal. He's good, and it's 13-9 Saints with 5:30 left.
Man, this game is so much like last week's. Can the Saints finish another one off?
UPDATED, 8:50 p.m.: Miles Sanders with his best rush in a while, picking up 5 yards on first down. There's still plenty of time left in this game, but with the way the Panthers have struggled to move the ball, there has to be some urgency at this point.
Sanders again, gets within a yard of the first down. Third down, and here comes Andy Dalton. And here come the boos from the crowd. But instead of sneaking, he pitches to Sanders, who has the first down easily. Young back in there with a first down at the 33.
Alontae Taylor with a big hit on a screen pass after Young was pressured on second down, and the Panthers are behind the sticks again. But Young is going to pick it up with a scramble. Gaping hole up the middle, and he's all the way across midfield. Gain of 26 to the Saints' 41. Ouch.
Think the Saints could have run it there. Not sure about that third down call.— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) September 19, 2023
Heading into the fourth ?? pic.twitter.com/tdEcK5BrWA— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) September 19, 2023
UPDATED, 8:43 p.m.: Saints staying conservative with play-calling here. A run for Jones, then a run for Taysom Hill — lined up as a running back — and it's third-and-3. Carr changes the play at the line. Now the Saints will call timeout with the play clock running down.
This is a big play. A first down here, and the Saints will be in long field goal range with a chance to make this a two-score game.
Instead, the pocket collapses on Carr and he's sacked. Kamu Grugier-Hill did a nice job dragging Carr down there as he tried to step up in the pocket. That's four sacks of Carr for the second straight week.
Punt just misses going out in the coffin corner, and it's a touchback. Missed chance for the Saints, who will lean back on their defense with 12:47 left.
UPDATED, 8:37 p.m.:?Carr hits Olave on a rollout to convert a third down, with Olave making another nice catch, toe-tapping inbounds for the first.
Third quarter comes to an end with a Taysom Hill draw play, and it's good for 11 yards and another first down, right at the 50-yard line. Saints up 13-6 and in good shape with a quarter to play.
UPDATED, 8:35 p.m.: Young is under pressure and slips down on first down. That'll count as a sack for Nathan Shepherd, who touched him before he slipped. Then Young bounces one, and he checks down for a short gain on third down. Some boo birds coming out in Charlotte.
A good punt from Hekker, and the Saints are back at their own 17, but they have a chance to really put a chokehold on this game with some points here.
A holding call will put New Orleans in second-and-18, but now Brian Burns jumps offside to give 5 yards back. Draw play to Jones will pick up another 5 and make this third down at least doable. Let's see if Carr can come up with a throw.
Yes, he can! Carr goes deep for Olave, who juggles the ball and then brings it in on his way down. What an unbelievable catch by Chris Olave, and a gain down to the Panthers 30. Let's see if that gets this offense going.
A pitch to Jones on third-and-2 will work to pick up the first down. Trevor Penning leading the way on that charge. Taysom in the game and passes for the first time, completing to Juwan Johnson for 8 yards. Jones gets 1, and it's third-and-short again. Jones again, a great push by the line, and he's down to the 2. First-and-goal. Every Saints fan knows: This has GOT to be a touchdown.
And it is! Tony Jones, the workhorse! He bulls his way across the goal line, and the Saints have a 12-6 lead. Blake Grupe's PAT is good, and it's 13-6 with 2:56 left in the third after the second Saints touchdown of the season.
UPDATED, 9:15 p.m.: Carolina in another third-and-long situation, but this time Young turns to his legs and picks it up with a scramble right up the middle.
Well, hold that. Saints are going to challenge the spot. Young was short of the line to gain. It'll be fourth-and-short. I imagine the Panthers will go for this, and sure enough, the offense is still on the field.
Andy Dalton is in the game, presumably to sneak this. He's much bigger than Young, of course.
And then the Panthers jumped. Wow. Hard to tell which of these offenses is more inept tonight.
Pineiro is out for another long field goal. This one from 54 yards. Not a great snap, but the holder did a good job, and it's a good kick. We're tied again, 6-6, with 9:09 left in the third quarter.
Feels like the first team to double digits will win this one.— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) September 19, 2023
UPDATED, 8:08 p.m.: So the Saints are backed way up here. They roll Carr out to try to give him some time, but nothing is open, and he has to throw it away to avoid the safety.
Nowhere for Jones to go on second down, and it's third-and-10. Quick slant to Shaheed, who's going nowhere. Lou Hedley will have to punt from the very back of his own end zone. He gets it away and out to midfield, but the return will set the Panthers up at the Saints 41.
UPDATED, 8:02 p.m.: The defense holds anyway, with Young firing too long for Mingo on third-and-3, and the Saints are going to get it back.
But instead of the turnover and the ball in the red zone, the Saints are backed up at their own 3 after a great punt from Johnny Hekker.
The Saints had a huge strip sack inside the Panthers 20 ... and it's not going to count. Paulson Adebo is flagged for a hold, and Carolina gets to hang onto the football— Luke Johnson (@ByLukeJohnson) September 19, 2023
UPDATED, 7:59 p.m.: Panthers start the second half with the football, and let's hope for a little more excitement than we had in the first half.
We're at least going to get some controversy. Bryce Young is strip-sacked on third down, with Saints first-round pick Bryan Bresee doing the honors, and the Saints are set up in the red zone — until a defensive holding call is going to wipe all of that away and give Carolina a first down instead.
Wow. What a huge call. Haven't seen a replay, but that call is worth a good 20% in win expectancy, maybe more.
UPDATED, 7:54 p.m.: Some first-half stats, and they ain't pretty:
Derek Carr 13/26, 102 yards, INT
Bryce Young 8/13, 66 yards
Jamaal Williams 9-29
Taysom Hill 4-24
Tony Jones 2-6
Miles Sanders 8-25
Michael Thomas 7-55
Foster Moreau 2-20
Rashid Shaheed 2-16
Chris Olave 2-11
Adam Thielen 5-44
DJ Chark 1-15
Saints fans. If you fell asleep and missed the entire first half, you didn’t miss anything.— juan kincaid (@juangkincaid) September 19, 2023
Pass protection is an issue. And it's not just Trevor Penning. Far from it.— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) September 19, 2023
UPDATED, 7:41 p.m.:?Panthers have it at their 19 with 28 seconds left and no timeouts. We'll see if they plan on doing anything aggressive, and they do come out in four wide. But it's a draw play for Sanders, who gets 3 yards, and that's going to be the half.
Saints 6, Panthers 3. A lackluster half of football.
UPDATED, 7:39 p.m.:?Carr hits Shaheed for the first time tonight on a crucial 5-yard completion to convert a third-and-4. Panthers defense is forcing everything underneath and still getting pressure — and this time Carr is sacked. Saints will call their second timeout with 49 seconds left facing second-and-17. Trevor Penning got beat there.
Third-and-long after an incompletion, and here's another Panthers sack. Luvu again. Now the Panthers will call their own timeout — their last one — to save 37 seconds for themselves.
Saints offense completely out of sync tonight, especially since Jamaal Williams left the game.
UPDATED, 7:36 p.m.: Young does complete one pass for a first down into the Saints red zone for the first time tonight, but the Saints defense holds from there, with Carl Granderson sacking Young, who fumbles. The ball bounces all the way back to the Saints 40, slipping out of Pete Werner's hands, and finall Paulson Adebo gets on top of it.
What an answer by the Saints defense. Now a two-minute drill opportunity for Carr, who will look to make up for his pick on the last drive.
UPDATED, 7:29 p.m.:?Uh oh. Carr's third down pass is off target and picked off by Vonn Bell. Not sure where he was throwing that. The former Saint returns that inside the Saints 40 and sets the Panthers up nearly in game-tying field goal range already.
UPDATED, 7:26 p.m.:?Bryce Young with his first downfield completion, hitting DJ Chark for a 15-yard gain after rolling left. Panthers doing what they can to help give Young a bit of time.
Isaiah Foskey is out there, by the way, I think for the first time. Third-and-3, Young tries to force one to Mingo, and Marshon Lattimore is all over it. That's not gonna work.
UPDATED, 7:21 p.m.: Saints go three and out in frustrating fashion after Thomas caught a ball, got up and ran for an apparent first down. But then it was ruled he was touched, and Carr throws behind him on third-and-short, and it's Lou Hedley time. This is a good punt, though, forcing a fair catch back at the 10.
It's a hamstring injury for Williams, who's listed as questionable to return. Tony Jones is the only healthy running back on the active roster, unless you count fullback Adam Prentice.
UPDATED, 7:14 p.m.: Tony Jones was in the game on that play because Jamaal Williams is hurt, by the way. He's in the injury tent, apparently.
Carl Granderson with a big TFL on second down for the Panthers, a loss of 4 on a Miles Sanders run, and Carolina has a third-and-13. Cam Jordan in the backfield again on that play, chasing Bryce Young all over the place, and though he can't get him, Young has to throw it away, and it's fourth down.
Saints defensive front having its way so far with the Panthers offensive line, which is a great sign for New Orleans. Now we see if the offense can finally get in the end zone.
Derek Carr had Tony Jones open for a touchdown, but the timing was off. Jones did not get his head around in time and the Saints will once again settle for a short field goal— Luke Johnson (@ByLukeJohnson) September 19, 2023
Awful red zone performance already for the #Saints.— Ross Jackson (@RossJacksonNOLA) September 19, 2023
UPDATED, 7:08 p.m.: A dump-off to Miles Sanders picks up 7, and it's third-and-6 for Carolina to start the second quarter. Alontae Taylor nearly picks that ball off with great coverage on Thielen. He actually came down with it, but he was out of bounds first, and regardless, it's a third-down stop for the Saints.
Then a good return from Rashid Shaheed on the punt, and the Saints are set up at their own 44 looking for their first lead. Three runs, 19 yards, two from Williams and one from Hill — his fourth snap already. That's good run game production, and the Saints are marching back inside the Panthers 30 after a completion to Thomas.
Big illegal-hands-to-the-face call on the Panthers there, giving the Saints a first down on what otherwise would have been third-and-long. Was a good call though — Derrick Brown popped Cesar Ruiz's helmet all the way off.
It's third-and-long anyway. Carr had plenty of time on that second-down play, but good coverage downfield and he can't connect with Thomas in the end zone.
What a throw and an even better catch from Carr to Thomas inside the 5. Initially called incomplete, but the refs are going to change that call without making the Saints challenge it. First-and-goal. Hell of a play.
Taysom loses a yard on first down. He actually had Carr lined up as a receiver and wide open in the end zone, but he didn't see him. Now Carr is incomplete on second down, with the ball knocked away from Olave. Man, the Saints have got to solve these red-zone issues. Third down, Carr throws for Jones out of the backfield, but he wasn't turned around yet. Not sure whose timing was off there, but it's another stall deep in Carolina territory.
23-yarder for Grupe is good, and the Saints lead 6-3, but they're leaving points out there.
UPDATED, 6:52 p.m.: First quarter will end in a 3-3 tie. Panthers had a holding call and face a second-and-13 when play resumes.
Big game tonight in Carolina. Derek Carr is one of 9 QBs to start in losses against 30 teams headed into game vs Panthers. Carr is 2-0 vs Carolina. With a loss tonight he will be the first QB to lose to 31 teams.— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) September 18, 2023
UPDATED, 6:49 p.m.: Carr rolls out and completes a pass to Keith Kirkwood for a first down, but Carolina is challenging this call, and it looks like it might have skipped on the turf as Kirkwood tried to bring it in. A low throw from Carr, who hasn't been sharp on any of his three attempts so far.
Five yards for Tony Jones on his first carry, and then another low throw from Carr to Michael Thomas, but this one is going to be called defensive pass interference. First down.
Taysom gets another snap here, and this time he fakes the handoff and runs around left end for a first down just across the midfield stripe.
Saints are running the ball much better than last week already, with 33 yards so far after just 69 last week. But Jeremy Chinn just leapt about 10 feet in the air to bat down Carr's second-down pass here, so it'll be another third down. Olave was open, too. This time it's Olave on a crossing route. Just enough for the first down.
Now Foster Moreau with his first catch of the season, and that'll be another first down. Saints marching near the red zone now.
Another short pass to Thomas for another first down, but things are getting tough now. It's third-and-6 from the Carolina 10. Saints had red zone troubles last week, and they'll continue here. Carr throws it away with good coverage in the end zone.
It'll be a 28-yard attempt for Blake Grupe. It's good, Grupe stays perfect on the year, and we're tied 3-3.
Cam Jordan is wearing Panthers RT Taylor Moton the hell out on this drive— Luke Johnson (@ByLukeJohnson) September 18, 2023
UPDATED, 6:29 p.m.:?Lou Hedley with a half-shank on that kick. It only goes 29 yards before sailing out of bounds, so the Panthers have good field position at their 35. Now the Bryce Young show — which, the Saints hope, will be a flop in its Charlotte debut.
Sure enough, Young is leveled on his first attempt by Nathan Shepherd, and the ball flies into open space. I guess it wasn't intentional grounding simply because of the hit — no idea to tell where Young was throwing. Carolina's second play is much more effective, a 13-yard run from Miles Sanders over left tackle and a first down.
Next series, a slip screen to Thielen gets 6 on third-and-3, and the Panthers are inching into field goal range.
Cam Jordan is getting in the backfield on just about every play. Young has run for his life twice, and now it's third-and-long. Zone defense, and Thielen has another catch for 10 yards, but well shy of the first down.
It's fourth down, and the field goal unit is out. Eddy Pineiro is out for a 52-yard attempt, and it's good. Saints defense still hasn't given up a touchdown this year, but for the second straight week, they're down 3-0.
UPDATED, 6:19 p.m.:?Saints are already off to a better start than last week, when they fumbled away the opening kickoff. This one is a touchback, and two Jamaal Williams runs will set up a manageable third-and-2 on the opening series. Derek Carr throws it a bit behind Michael Thomas, but he makes a great snag for 7 yards and a first down.
Already a Taysom Hill sighting at quarterback, but all he's doing is handing off to Williams, who gets 4 more. Carr bypasses a wide-open Williams on second down and instead bounces one to Chris Olave. On third down, the Panthers get to Carr for a sack, and the drive stalls. Frankie Luvu got Carr after Brian Burns had initial pressure.
UPDATED, 6:14 p.m.:?They've finally unfurled the giant American flag — and it's literally 100 yards long, stretched from goal line to goal line. Pretty amazing production.
Former Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is here to bang the drum, which I guess you'd call the closest thing Carolina has to a Who Dat chant.
Meanwhile, the captains are at midfield for the coin toss. Saints call tails, and the coin lands heads. Carolina defers, so Derek Carr and the New Orleans offense will start this one with the ball.?
UPDATED, 6:09 p.m.:?The Saints have just run out onto the field to a chorus of boos, although again, there aren't nearly as many people in their seats yet as you'd think, with kickoff just 10 minutes away.
Now it's time for the Panthers intro, complete with video board hype video and individual announcements of starters. Bryce Young, of course, gets by far the biggest cheer as he runs out of the inflatable Panther last.
Almost time for the coin toss and Game No. 2.
UPDATED, 6:00 p.m.: The Panthers are putting on quite a production here for their home opener, with a giant — and I mean like 75 yards giant — American flag that they're waiting to unfurl while they have some parachuters land in the stadium.
Thing is, we're down to about 15 minutes before kickoffs, and the stadium is still less than half full. Could be a late-arriving crowd for an early Monday game, of course, but it still seems less than enthusiastic for a team debuting its No. 1 draft pick, doesn't it?
It’s simple for the Saints tonight: Play clean and match the intensity of the Panthers, who undoubtedly will be amped for their home opener after dropping Game 1 at ATL. Do that and the talent disparity will take over.— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) September 18, 2023
UPDATED, 5:14 p.m.: We're about an hour away from Saints vs. Panthers on Monday Night Football. I'm Saints Editor Zach Ewing, and I'd like to welcome you to our live updates page, where I'll post my thoughts during the game, as well as social media posts from our staff, the Saints and others of interest.
The teams have listed their inactives for this game, and the only mild surprise for the Saints is that defensive end Kyle Phillips is inactive. We had thought maybe he'd be elevated with the injury suffered by Payton Turner in last week's win over the Titans. Instead, it's rookie defensive end Isaiah Foskey who is active and figures to get some snaps in place of Turner.
Kendre Miller is also inactive, still dealing with a hamstring injury, so Tony Jones Jr. will be the No. 2 running back behind Jamaal Williams.
The Saints other inactives are wide receivers Lynn Bowden and A.T. Perry, running back Kirk Merritt and offensive lineman Nick Saldiveri.
The other Saints inactives are Lynn Bowden, A.T. Perry, Kendre Miller