New Orleans dismantled Carolina, 34-3, Sunday in Charlotte -- totally dominating the game after an early Carolina field goal gave the Panthers a short-lived 3-0 lead.
It was another embarrassing afternoon for the Panthers, who dropped to 1-7 with what was statistically their worst loss of the season. New Orleans improved to 6-3 and gave Carolina quite a beating compared to the 16-14 win the Saints eked out over Carolina a month ago in the Superdome.
What must Panthers owner Jerry Richardson think of what he has wrought?
Steve Smith never officially touched the ball for the Panthers in the first 59 minutes -- the one pass he caught when it mattered was negated by his own pass-interference penalty. He did catch a short ball in the final minute of play.
Carolina ended up playing three quarterbacks -- Matt Moore was hurt and Jimmy Clausen ineffective, so rookie Tony Pike finished up.
Pike had three series. His second series was somewhat more successful than his first -- Carolina moved the ball to around the New Orleans 20 -- but- then he took a sack on fourth-and-3 from the New Orleans 19 and the Saints took over again.
He got the ball back one last time with a minute to go at about midfield and got Carolina down to the New Orleans 13 with a 22-yard pass to David Gettis before running out of time at the New Orleans 9.
The Panthers, already the most impotent offense in the league, saw their average drop to 11 points per game (they now have 88 points in eight games, or about what a halfway-decent NBA team scores on one good night).
4 weeks ago