NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 17 PFF ReFocused: New Orleans Saints 42, Carolina Panthers 10

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) passes the ball in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints kept their feet on the gas Sunday, rolling over the Carolina Panthers 42-10 to cap off a very successful regular season with a dominant Week 17 win.

PFF's ReFocused series features immediate takeaways from the two analysts who graded the game live. The two offer a detailed breakdown of the game's most notable performances before the grades and advanced stats are reviewed and finalized by Senior Analysts.

All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game and the other games played this week will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle. ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats.

PFF's ELITE subscribers can also preview NFL and NCAA games in PFF Greenline, an online dashboard with projections for the spread, totals and moneyline.

Final Score

New Orleans Saints 42, Carolina Panthers 10

New Orleans Saints

Quarterback Drew Brees had a good game statistically as he completed 19 passes for 253 yards and had three touchdown passes. However, it wasn't actually that good a performance by Brees, as a lot of his yards came after the reception and he was also fortunate to see two of his passes fall incomplete after hitting safety Tre Boston‘s hands.

The Saints are still looking for someone to step up to complement Michael Thomas as a No. 2 receiver, and Tre'Quan Smith showed promising signs Sunday that he could fill that role. Smith had a touchdown reception, did well after the catch, and overall caught 5 passes for 56 yards.

Edge defender Trey Hendrickson‘s name did not jump off the stat sheet after the win against Carolina, but that doesn't show it all. While Hendrickson had just two tackles in the game, he made his impact felt both on pass plays and run plays. Hendrickson recorded multiple pressures coming off the edge and also had success defending the run.

Cornerback Janoris Jenkins‘ highlight of the game came on the last play as he picked off Kyle Allen, but he played well in the entire game. Although he committed a penalty on special teams, Jenkins played well in coverage and had another pass breakup on top of his interception.

Carolina Panthers

Quarterback Kyle Allen came in for the injured Will Grier and made some nice plays. Allen completed 25 of his 41 passes for 295 yards and also had an interception on the last play of the game. The highlight of his afternoon came on a deep bomb down the left sideline to Brandon Zylstra, which was one of the best throws of the weekend.

Wide receiver Zylstra's play was one of the few highlights for Carolina on this afternoon. Zylstra made multiple impressive leaping receptions, including one near the goal line. Although he also had a dropped pass, he made an impact blocking on screen passes as well. Overall, he caught six passes for 96 receiving yards.

Linebacker Luke Kuechly was his usual self as he was all over the field in the loss to the Saints. Kuechly was quick to recognize run plays as he made plays against the run while he also had a pass breakup in the end zone to prevent a touchdown by tight end Josh Hill.

Second-year linebacker Jermaine Carter showed some promising signs as he had one of the best games of his young career. Carter finished second on the team with 10 tackles as he did his best work in run defense.

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