Panthers outduel Saints 44-38

In a game that saw Drew Brees once again make NFL history, the Saints defense couldn't stop the Carolina Panthers from rallying to a victory 44-38.

Cam Newton was 16 for 33 with 248 YDS and 1 INT, but it was in the running backs' hands in the red zone. Mike Tolbert had three 1-yard TD runs.

DeAngelo Williams ran wild, for 201 yards to be exact, including big TD runs of 54 and 12 yards.

Brees hit the record books in two areas Sunday. His 396 yards gave him 5,177 on the season, making him the first player to eclipse 5,000 yards 3 times. He also had four TD passes, giving him 43 for the season, becoming the first player with 40 TD passes in consecutive seasons.

But in the end, it didn't result in a Saints win due to a historically bad defense that gave up 530 total yards. That's 7,042 on the season, breaking the old record of 6,793 allowed by the 1981 Baltimore Colts. Ouch.

"Totally unacceptable what happened today," Joe Vitt told the Associated Press. "Very disappointing. There's no way to sugarcoat this."

While the Panthers walked off the field with optimism for next season, the Saints look to regroup and take solace in the return of head coach Sean Payton, who can begin his work right after they host the Super Bowl on Feb 3rd.

"To have gone through what we went through this year and just to hang tough ... it would have been very easy at times to fracture and not have the togetherness that we had," Brees said. "We just have to believe that what happened this year is going to serve us well in the future."

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