PASSING OFFENSE: F -- The Panthers used three quarterbacks for the first time since last year's season opener against Philadelphia, and none of them was remotely successful. Matt Moore was knocked out with a shoulder injury early in the second quarter and finished with just 13 passing yards. Jimmy Clausen threw a pick-six late in the third quarter and was benched for Tony Pike. Pike didn't fare much better. Carolina's top three receivers were completely useless, as Steve Smith had one meaningless catch for nine yards and rookies Brandon LaFell and David Gettis combined for four catches for 36 yards. Gettis was the leading receiver with 22 yards.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- Running back was one of the deepest positions on the roster. My, how times have changed. The Panthers played without DeAngelo Williams (sprained foot) and then lost Jonathan Stewart to a concussion and Tyrell Sutton to an ankle injury. That left the team with only Mike Goodson at running back. It's unclear who'll be ready for this week's game against Tampa Bay, but there's a chance Williams could be back. All things considered, the Panthers weren't awful running the football. Then again, when a team is averaging less than 90 yards per game on the ground, the bar is lowered. The Panthers ran for 127 yards on 24 carries (5.3 average) with Sutton leading the way with 41 yards on seven carries. Stewart had 30 yards on five carries before he left.
PASS DEFENSE: D-minus -- Drew Brees gutted the Panthers' secondary, throwing for 253 yards and two touchdowns. The Panthers tried to take away the deep stuff, so Brees was content to be patient and work underneath the coverage. His longest pass completion of the day went for 36 yards to Lance Moore. Carolina managed only one sack. The only brief bright spot was Richard Marshall, who returned an interception 66 yards on the Saints' first possession.
RUSH DEFENSE: F -- The Panthers allowed former Dallas and Seattle castoff Julius Jones to break free for a 54-yard run on the game's first play. The Saints came into the game ranked 30th in rushing offense but gouged the Panthers for 165 yards despite not having Pierre Thomas or Reggie Bush. Jones finished with 60 yards, while Chris Ivory ran for 50 yards on 12 carries. Ladell Betts scored a touchdown for the Saints.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- The Panthers successfully pulled off a fake punt with Jordan Senn running for a first down on fourth-and-5. John Kasay missed his first field goal from inside 50 yards in more than a year. The Saints' punt team did a great job of controlling field position and pinning the Panthers deep in their own end of the field. Carolina started four drives inside its own 10-yard line.
COACHING: D -- What more can you say? How Jeff Davidson still has a job is amazing, but like most of John Fox's coaching staff, he won't be around next season. However, Carolina's demise is more about a lack of personnel than coaching. "I don't think anyone could imagine starting off this way during the season, but all we can do is keep grinding and getting after it, staying in longer watching tape and go out to practice and try to be more consistent each and every play," Clausen said.
Report Card: Panthers-Saints
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