(AP) Wil Lutz kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give the Saints a 34-31 win over the Panthers, and New Orleans took a four-game lead in the NFC South with five games left.
Drew Brees completed 30 of 39 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns, and led New Orleans from its 14-yard line with 1:51 left to the Carolina 15 with 3 seconds remaining to set up the winning kick. That capped a contest filled with late momentum shifts and critical errors - none bigger than Carolina kicker Joey Slye's missed field goal from 28 yards with 2 minutes left.
New Orleans scored on the game's opening possession and led until 9:23 remained in the fourth quarter, when D.J. Moore reached up with his right hand to corral a fourth-and-goal pass in the back of the end zone to tie it at 31.
Soon after, Panthers safety Eric Reid stuffed Alvin Kamara on a run to the right side on fourth-and-1 from the New Orleans 45. That set up a dramatic sequence in which Carolina coach Ron Rivera successfully challenged officials' decision not to call pass interference on a third-down incomplete pass, setting up a first-and-goal at the 3 with 2:21 to go.
Carolina squandered its opportunity, however, after Christian McCaffrey's run was stuffed and Kyle Allen threw incomplete on second down and was sacked on third down by Marcus Davenport, setting up the end of a difficult day for Slye, who'd also missed two extra-point kicks.
Michael Thomas had 10 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown for New Orleans (9-2), including receptions of 14 and 24 yards on the winning drive.
Allen passed for 256 yards and three TDs for Carolina (5-6), which saw its playoff hopes pushed to the brink. McCaffrey had 133 yards and two touchdowns from scrimmage on a balance of runs and receptions.
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