Panthers beat Saints for first win of season thanks to strong defensive performance

Carolina did not allow New Orleans to score through the game’s first three quarters.
Carolina Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu (49) reacts after a blocked field goal by New Orleans...
Carolina Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu (49) reacts after a blocked field goal by New Orleans Saints place kicker Wil Lutz (3) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)(Jacob Kupferman | AP)
Published: Sep. 25, 2022 at 4:05 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Carolina Panthers notched their first win of the 2022 season with a 22-14 win over the division-rival New Orleans Saints on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

The Panthers can thank their defense for what was a dominant defensive performance, covering up what was another mostly lackluster offensive showing.

Carolina scored the game’s first touchdown in the first quarter on a scoop-and-score fumble recovery by defensive end Marquis Haynes after linebacker Frankie Luvu stripped New Orleans’ Alvin Kamara.

The forced fumble came as Luvu continues to play well in his first season as a full-time starter. Through three games, he ranks second on the team with 21 total tackles and leads the team with four tackles for loss.

Newly-acquired Panthers wide receiver Laviska Shenault had the longest offensive play of the day on a 67-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. It was his first catch since joining the team.

A blocked field goal and another one missed helped keep the Saints off the scoreboard through three quarters, before they finally scored on a five-yard run with just over 12 minutes left in the game.

Defensive tackle Derrick Brown added his first-career interception off of a tipped pass on New Orleans’ next possession to set up a Carolina field goal, and with less than a minute to play, second-year man Jaycee Horn picked off another pass to seal the win.

Offensively, the Panthers struggled for the third game in a row, failing to amass 200 yards of total offense until Shenault’s long touchdown a few minutes into the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield was sacked three times by the New Orleans defense, continuing a concerning trend that has plagued the Panthers over the past few seasons.

He finished the game 12 of 25 passing for 170 yards, and the touchdown to Shenault.

Running back Christian McCaffrey had his second 100-yard rushing game in a row, totaling 108 yards on the ground, while also pulling in two catches.

Eddy Piñeiro made three more field goals for the Panthers, as he remains perfect on field goal attempts after being signed just days before the season opener.

Carolina will take on the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday afternoon in Charlotte.

Related: Panthers fall to Giants despite McCaffrey’s big game