Brees turns back the clock, leads Saints past Panthers in National Football League playoffs

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If this were in Carolina, the Panthers would have more of a chance, but Cam Newton is going to play similar to last week when he faces the Saints' defense. Coach Sean Payton kept the offense on the field on fourth-and-short with two minutes remaining and Carolina out of timeouts, hoping for one more first down that would have allowed New Orleans to run out the clock.

When it takes four seconds to decide whether to throw a flag on a blatant pass interference, in which the cornerback tackled the receiver by the ankles before the ball arrived, the officiating has to be questioned. On a fourth-and-2, Brees threw the ball up, and Carolina's Mike Adams reeled in the ball for what ended up being a 16-yard loss of field position.

After driving to the Saints 21-yard line inside the final minute, the Panthers suffered a costly intentional grounding call against quarterback Cam Newton that resulted in loss of down and devastating 10-second runoff at the Saints 34.

"I was showing pressure, me and the safety were showing pressure", he said. "I thought somebody had stuck a finger in my eye, but I got a visor so that couldn't happen".

Horrible. Uninspiring. Just not good enough.

"Our quarterback was out of the pocket", he said. "They dialed it up and I said, 'Go make a play'". After missing the rest of that series, Newton came back to lead another scoring drive, this time connecting with Christian McCaffery on a 56-yard touchdown.

It was the first Panthers touchdown of the game on their fifth trip inside the Saints 22-yard line.

"You feel like it's a brotherhood that will always be there, " Brees said.

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Here's everything you need to know to watch the game, or follow along as we bring you the latest score, live updates and more. Team doctors and trainers checked on Newton and took him to the medical tent before clearing him to return. Two SMU alums played a big role in the victory.

Newton drove the Panthers inside the Saints 25 three times, but Gano pushed his first attempt wide from only 25 yards.

Newton wound up completing 24 of 40 passes for 349 yards.

"I believe that we are different". Olsen caught seven passes for 104 yards and a TD.

Brees finished with 376 yards passing in the wild card weekend game, with two touchdown passes. It was an unusual miss for Gano, who went 29 of 30 during the regular season with his only miss from beyond 50 yards.

Newton was sacked four times, once each by Bell, Jordan, Jonathan Freeney, and David Onyemata.

Newton then struggled to get to his feet and collapsed to the turf while trying to jog to the sidelines.

Did Jerry Richardson sell the Carolina Panthers during the National Football League playoffs? Olsen got wide open near the right sideline to get the Panthers to the red zone, then worked himself free in the end zone, as Carolina finally didn't settle for a field goal. However, it was evident early on that the future Hall of Fame quarterback would be the main mode of attack vs. a Panthers secondary that slowly regressed in the second half of 2017. Needless to say, at that juncture of the game with Carolina trailing by five points, the call was crushing for the Panthers.