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Panthers Vs Saints: Live Updates of Monday Night Football Game

Carolina Panthers' defense shines in home opener, while offense struggles. Injury to linebacker Shaq Thompson is a setback.

The Carolina Panthers' home opener didn't go as planned, but their defense put up a strong fight to keep them in the game. Despite struggling on offense, the Panthers were able to prevent the New Orleans Saints from scoring touchdowns in the first half. Instead, the Saints were held to short field goals on two trips to the red zone.

The defense played a crucial role in this effort, with Frankie Luvu sacking Saints quarterback Derek Carr twice and Vonn Bell making a key interception. Bell's interception gave the Panthers offense a scoring opportunity in the second quarter.

However, the Panthers' offense still has some work to do. Rookie quarterback Bryce Young was sacked and fumbled the ball late in the second quarter, wasting Bell's takeaway. Young completed 8 of 13 passes for 66 yards in the first half, with five of those completions going to veteran wide receiver Adam Thielen.

Despite the early success with the Young-to-Thielen connection, the offense struggled after the opening drive. They only gained 42 yards after the initial field goal, resulting in three punts and the sack-fumble.

Unfortunately, the Panthers defense suffered a setback in the first quarter when linebacker Shaq Thompson was injured and had to leave the field. The team has ruled him out for the rest of the game due to a shin injury.

Looking ahead, the Panthers need to focus on the turnover battle and creating impact plays on defense to secure a win. Last week, the Panthers had three costly turnovers that likely contributed to their loss against the Falcons. On the other hand, the Saints' defense used three takeaways to their advantage in a close win over Tennessee. Taking care of the ball and making impactful defensive plays will be crucial for the Panthers on Monday.

Another area of concern for the Panthers is their lack of "chunk" plays on offense. In Week 1, they didn't complete a single pass longer than 14 yards. Without a downfield threat, the Falcons were able to stifle the Panthers' offense as the game progressed. In their last 24 plays from scrimmage, the Panthers only gained 34 yards as they attempted a comeback.

The absence of top cornerback Jaycee Horn will also test the Panthers' defense, especially against a Saints offense led by quarterback Derek Carr. Carr threw for over 300 yards last week and has a variety of talented targets, including Chris Olave, Rashid Shaheed, and a now-healthy Michael Thomas. The Panthers will need players like CJ Henderson to step up in Horn's absence and rely on Brian Burns and the pass rush to contain the Saints.

The Panthers have had mixed success on Monday Night Football, with a 10-7 all-time record and a 7-4 record at home. Many of their recent MNF games in Charlotte have been close, with four out of the last five games decided by four points or less. These include a 12-9 loss to the Saints in 2018, a 17-14 loss to the Buccaneers in 2016, a 29-26 overtime win against the Colts in 2015, and a controversial 24-20 win against the Patriots in 2013.

In conclusion, while the Panthers' home opener didn't go as planned, their defense showed promise by keeping the Saints out of the end zone. However, the offense still needs improvement, and the team must focus on turnovers and impactful plays on defense to secure a win. The absence of Jaycee Horn will pose a challenge, but the Panthers have a history of close games on Monday Night Football and will look to continue that trend.

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