EditorsNote: Edits throughout for clarity, flow
Wil Lutz kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give the host New Orleans Saints a 34-31 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon.
Drew Brees passed for 311 yards and three touchdowns and drove the Saints (9-2) 65 yards in less than two minutes to set up Lutz’s kick.
Michael Thomas, the NFL’s leading receiver, caught 10 of Brees’ passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. He reached 100 pass receptions for the third consecutive season on a first-quarter catch. He later surpassed 1,200 receiving yards for the season, making him the fifth player in NFL history to reach that total and 100 catches in three consecutive seasons.
New Orleans took possession with 1:56 to play after Joey Slye was wide right on a 28-yard field-goal attempt. Slye also missed two extra points and the Panthers, 5-6 after losing for the fourth time in five games, missed a two-point conversion.
Kyle Allen virtually matched Brees by completing 23 of 36 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns. D.J. Moore caught six passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
Christian McCaffery caught nine passes for 69 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 64 yards and a touchdown.
The Saints extended their 17-15 halftime lead when Brees threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jared Cook on New Orleans’ first possession of the third quarter.
Slye kicked a 52-yard field goal for Carolina before Brees threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Thomas.
McCaffery ran 4 yards for a touchdown that cut the Saints lead to 31-24 at the end of the third quarter.
Allen threw a 2-yard, fourth-down touchdown pass to Moore to tie the score with 9:23 remaining.
Latavius Murray ran 26 yards for a touchdown as the Saints reached the end zone on their first possession for the first time this season.
After recovering a Panthers fumble on a punt, Brees threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Tre’Quan Smith for a 14-0 lead with 5:12 left in the first quarter.
Allen threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Moore to cut New Orleans’ lead to 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Lutz and Slye exchanged 41-yard field goals before McCaffery caught a 1-yard touchdown from Allen on the final play of the half, leaving the Saints with a 17-15 halftime lead.
—Field Level Media