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Deuce: "My head hurts" after ugly Saints win

Seth Dunlap
December 18, 2018 - 1:15 am
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The New Orleans Saints escaped the grasp of the Carolina Panthers in an ugly 12-9 victory at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.  

While it wasn't always pretty, the win keeps the Saints (12-2) in first place in the NFC standings and puts them one victory away from clinching the top seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.   

However, the Saints nearly blew the victory after a costly late turnover by Tommylee Lewis, who fumbled the ball out of the Panthers end zone with under two minutes to play on a third down, giving the football back to the Panthers offense with the Saints leading just 12-9.

Former Saints running back Deuce McAllister said even he was having trouble watching the end of that game.

"My blood pressure isn't bad.  My head kind of hurts there.  I think it's the frustration you get, because we added a little excitement there at the end of the game."

While the Saints offense certainly could describe their performance as ugly, mustering up only a dozen points in their third consecutive futile effort, the Saints defense was stellar yet again.  The Panthers were the sixth straight opponent they've held under 20 points, and their 12.3 points per game allowed is the best in the league during that stretch.

"This defense, man I'm tellin' you," praised McAllister after the game on the Saints Radio Network.  "This is turning into a defensive football team.  I think we've been spoiled so much with this offense putting up unbelievable numbers.  They're only able to put up 12 (points) tonight, but you still come up with a victory giving up only seven points tonight."

The Saints defense consistently put pressure on Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton, sacking him four times while holding Newton to just 131 yards through the air.

"You were able to get to Cam Newton numerous times," Deuce said.  "You hit him.  You could tell he was playing hurt."

Perhaps the narrative of the 2018 season will be written around this Saints defense.  That seemed unthinkable early in the season when the offense was on a record-setting pace, but the past month has been a litmus test on the other side of the football.   Deuce thinks so.

"I think at some point you're going to have to give this Saints defense their due credit.  They're the number one rush defense, that we knew.  But the biggest thing that had hurt them was giving up explosive plays, but that didn't hurt them tonight."

If there is one concern coming out of the win, it's the health of the Saints offensive line.  Already without starting left tackle Terron Armstead, the unit lost starting center Max Unger and backup left tackle Jermon Bushrod to injuries during the game.  The Saints finished with Andrus Peat at left tackle, rookie Will Clapp playing left guard, and reserve Cameron Tom at center.

"You come in here, you play with, what, three backup offensive lineman . . . that's a gutty, gutty effort," Deuce commended.

The Saints now come home to finish the regular season, with the Steelers in town next week and the Panthers to close out the season at the end of the month.

Listen to Deuce's full post game commentary in the podcast below.

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