The Panthers did something they almost never do Sunday.
They scored first.
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It didn't last, and they trail 7-3 at the end of one, but it was rare enough to be worth a mention.
The Panthers took advantage of a Richard Marshall interception and a short field, to take a 3-0 lead on New Orleans.
It was just the second time all year the Panthers scored on the opening possession (along with a field goal against Chicago). The rest were four punts, a fumble and an interception.
Early on, Drew Brees looks more like the nine-picks in four weeks guy than the one who can carve up defenses at a whim.
The Saints big gains came on the ground, as RB Julius Jones took the first play 54 yards.
But two plays later, he bobbled a snap, picked it up and fired to WR Robert Meachem, who bobbled it to Marshall. A 67-yard return and a few nice Jonathan Stewart runs later, a 20-yard field goal by John Kasay gave them an early lead.
Stewart didn't last long, as he was knocked out of the game on the following possession by Saints S Darren Sharper.
He was hauled off the field on a cart with a head injury, and his return was deemed questionable.
He also fumbled on the play, which set up a Brees touchdown pass to TE Jeremy Shockey.
The Panthers were driving with backup RBs Tyrell Sutton and Mike Goodson, but we'll see what it yields.
-- Darin Gantt