Saints Panthers Football

Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young looks to pass under pressure from New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)

The Saints defeated the Carolina Panthers 20-17 on Monday night at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2013.

Here's what we learned?about the Saints in the win:

Defense dominated — again

What a start to the season. The Saints have played two games and have allowed just one touchdown. They were dominant again in key situations against the Panthers, holding them out of the end zone on two trips to the red zone and to four conversions in 13 third-down tries. Situational defense does not get any better than that. The Panthers did not make a play that covered more than 15 yards until midway through the final quarter.

Olave the spark

The second-year receiver's juggling, one-handed 42-yard catch lit a charge in the Saints offense and changed the momentum of the game. It converted a big third and 7 and injected life in the offense, which had struggled on previous drives. Until Olave's diving catch, the Saints' longest play had covered?19 yards. The big play set up the first touchdown of the night, a short run by Tony Jones. On a night when yards and points were hard to come by, Olave's SportsCenter-worthy catch was the difference-maker.

Red-zone offense

After failing to score a touchdown in their first two trips to the red zone on Monday night and going just 1 for 4 on trips inside the 20 against the Titans, the Saints offense finally managed to punch in a pair of touchdowns late to clinch the game. Both drives ended with short touchdown runs by Jones, a good sign for a team that has struggled to make plays near the opponent's goal line. The Saints are now 3 for 8 in red-zone trips this season.?

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