Saints Cruise Past Panthers

Sunday, November 25th 2007, 3:56 pm
By: News On 6

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Drew Brees playing one good half was more than enough for the New Orleans Saints against the rudderless Carolina Panthers.

Brees shook off a slow start to throw for 260 yards and three touchdowns and run for another score as the Saints stayed competitive in the NFC South race with a 31-6 win over the Panthers on Sunday.

Marques Colston caught seven passes for 93 yards and a TD for the Saints (5-6), who snapped a two-game losing streak. They remained two games behind division-leading Tampa Bay heading to Sunday's home game against the Buccaneers.

The Panthers (4-7) lost their fourth straight game, dropped to 0-5 at home and were booed again by their fans after another mistake-filled performance that led David Carr to be benched early in the fourth quarter.

Carr, getting the start after 44-year-old Vinny Testaverde was a late scratch with a sore back, threw seven straight incompletions to start the game. He wasn't much better after that, finishing10-of-22 for 95 yards and two interceptions. He was replaced by rookie Matt Moore after his second pick.

Not that the Panthers had any running game, either. DeShaun Foster rushed nine times for minus-5 yards and lost a fumble.

Brees and the Saints slogged through the first half, as well, before awakening after halftime with three third-quarter touchdowns to turn a 10-6 game into a rout.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw a 1-yard TD pass to Billy Miller on their first
possession. The second ended with Brees' 8-yard run on a draw. Foster fumbled on Carolina's next play, and Brees quickly turned it into another score, ending with a 4-yard bullet in traffic to Colston to make it 31-6.

The Saints hope their dominant second half will jump-start their streaky season. Picked to win the division, they started 0-4, the last an overtime loss to the Panthers. Then they won four straight, only to lose two in a row until getting well against the spiraling