Charlotte, NC - "It's almost becoming like Groundhog Day,'' said head coach John Fox. "We've had it happen more than enough this year.''
Fox is referring to the Carolina Panthers' six game losing streak. Five of those losses have come in the final four minutes just like today's loss to the Saints 34-24.
But like most of Carolina's recent games, this one came down to the final minutes.
A block in the back on the kickoff started the Saints at the 5-yard line, and it looked like the Panthers could end the game when cornerback Reggie Howard intercepted Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks on his first pass. However, the play was negated when officials called Howard for a push-off, and the Saints kept moving.
"I want to see that call, because it was crazy. They threw the flag very late, and I thought for sure that was the game,'' said Carolina safety Deon Grant. "Even so, when they lined back up, they still had 80 yards to go, and we could have stopped them.''
The Saints still kept moving and Brooks threw a touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Donte Stallworth with less then a minute to play in the game. Brooks threw for 259 yards and that late touchdown pass to Stallworth won the game.
"We slipped up and let Donte catch it over the middle and take it down to the 10,'' Peppers said. "It's hard and frustrating when you've got the game and it gets put on the defense's shoulders, and we don't step up and respond.''
The Panthers tried to move close enough for a tying field goal, but Peete fumbled and the Saints picked it up and returned it for a touchdown.
Peete went 23-for-40 for 310 yards, two touchdown passes and one interception.