5 things learned from Saints demolition of the Panthers
MOVING ON: The Saints proved they could put a bad game to bed quickly and regroup. Last Monday night, they were pounded 34-7 in Seattle then had a flight delay, further compressing their preparations for Carolina. By the time Sunday night arrived, the Saints looked like the same dominant team they've been all year at home, where they are 7-0.
TOUGH LOVE: The Panthers showed they are as vulnerable as any team to a lopsided loss - at least in a tough road environment. They were disappointed, but hardly devastated. They look at the way the Saints bounced back from their loss to the Seahawks and expect to do the same.
"Some tough love and us getting hit in the mouth might not be the worst thing in the world, as moving forward these games for us are going to get bigger and bigger," Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross said. "The sky isn't falling."
CLUTCH COLSTON: Now in his eighth season, former seventh-round draft choice Marques Colston continues to prove he can be a difference maker against top defenses. He led all receivers with nine catches for 125 yards and two TDs. Payton said the only reason Colston doesn't have such numbers more often is because how the Saints spread the ball around to multiple targets.
"The way we utilize receivers doesn't help in regards to postseason accolades ... but I'm glad we have him," Payton said.
SETTLING: Carolina may need to sharpen its red zone execution. The Panthers moved the ball well in the first quarter, twice reaching the New Orleans 20, only to settle for field goals. A sack stalled one drive and Newton threw an incompletion on third-and-goal from the 6 on another.
"Playing a team like (the Saints), field goals just aren't going to cut it," Newton said. "We are just going to have to come back (Monday) and watch the film and get a lot better at that."
PRESSURING PAIR: The Saints appear to have their best pass rush off the edge in years thanks to third-year pro Cameron Jordan and fourth-year player Junior Galette, who've combined for 20 sacks. Jordan's two sacks gave him 11 this season, making him the first Saint with double-digit sacks since Will Smith in 2009. Galette sacked Newton three times to bring his total to a career-high nine.