A number of fans that were late to Sunday’s game at the dome might as well have not even shown up the way the Saints played for the first eight minutes.
That was all Carolina would need, as they jumped out to a 17-0 before half of the first quarter was over, and in the end they totally blasted New Orleans, taking home a 41-10 win.
It’s the fourth straight home loss for New Orleans, a team that used to dominate at home, and now can’t seem to regain any sort of home field advantage.
Newton dominated the Saints with three touchdowns, and then appeared to incite a scuffle when he dived over the pile for another score.
The fight after the TD that made it 17-0 started when Newton did his ‘Superman’ pose and then Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton drew a personal foul for shoving the QB.
“We were embarrassed,” Lofton said. “We apologize to our fans and coaches. It was bad, bad football today.”
Jonathan Stewart added a 69-yard touchdown run as the Panthers (4-8-1) pulled closer to NFC South leader Atlanta (5-7), which plays Monday night at Green Bay.
Newton’s scoring passes went for 9 yards to Kelvin Benjamin, 16 yards to tight end Greg Olsen and 26 yards to running back Fozzy Whitaker.
Sean Payton called the loss “embarrassing,” and emphasized that he’ll be eager to review the coaches’ film of the game.
“We’ve got to look closely at everything — preparation, who we’re asking to do it,” Payton said. “We’re not that good. That’s painfully obvious.”
The Saints turned the ball over on two of their first three offensive plays. Mark Ingram’s fumble on the New Orleans 25 — forced by Josh Norman and recovered by Colin Cole — led to a field goal.
Bene Benwikere’s interception of Drew Brees led to Newton’s rushing TD.
The Panthers, who entered with a league-low 30 first-quarter points all season, scored 17 points inside the first nine minutes.
Brees was 29 of 49 for 235 yards and one late TD to tight end Ben Watson. Afterward, Brees said the Saints haven’t responded well to adversity this season.
“We need to be more professional,” Brees said. “Certainly, a loss like that is embarrassing. That’s not what we’re about.”