The New Orleans Saints knocked off the Carolina Panthers on Sunday to advance to the NFC’s Divisional Round. It was the third time in as many attempts this season the Saints got the best of the Panthers.
With that third victory this season came a brutal own by the Times-Picayune for Monday morning’s front page edition:
A racial slur directed at a former team scout is also mentioned:
Perceptions of casual racism hardened recently when, multiple sources told SI, Richardson directed a racial slur at an African-American scout for the Panthers. The scout left the team this year—but not, according to sources, before he sought the counsel of a Charlotte attorney who negotiated a confidential settlement on his behalf. Contacted by SI and asked if he wished to comment, the scout responded, “I’m not in a position to talk.”
In Richardson’s letter announcing the same of the team, he mentioned it wouldn’t be until after the completion of the season that the sale would occur.
The Times-Picayune saw this as an opportunity to take one last parting shot at the Panthers.
The Jaguars did it with a surprising offensive explosion against the Steelers. The 45-42 win was fueled by three rushing touchdowns for Leonard Fournette and an efficient, turnover-free day for Blake Bortles. Pittsburgh never led.
The Saints came close to trailing all of Sunday too with Minnesota’s tough defense keeping them off the board until late in the third quarter. But the Saints scored three touchdowns in the last 17 minutes of the game to take a 21-20 lead with about three minutes left in the game.
After the teams traded field goals, the Vikings won with a miraculous final touchdown pass from Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs.
Another point of agreement: Because they had found a defensive anchor in Shazier (and more balance overall), they were better positioned to topple the Patriots in the AFC and add a seventh Lombardi Trophy to their already crowded case. In each of the past three seasons they had advanced one round deeper into the playoffs, losing to New England 36–17 last January in the conference championship game. And in each of the past four offseasons they reinforced their defense, drafting seven starters in the first three rounds.