The New Orleans Saints, who had nothing to play for after already securing homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, benched and rested many of their starters in the season finale against the Carolina Panthers. The Saints decided to play it safe, and it means a three-game losing streak for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
That decision by the Saints helped the Panthers (8-8) to finish on a three-game winning streak. Matt Moore threw for 162 yards and a touchdown to Dwayne Jarrett to finish 4-1 as a starter after the struggling Delhomme was sidelined with a broken finger. Jonathan Stewart rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown and the Carolina Panthers finished their disappointing season with a 23-10 win over the lifeless Saints on Sunday.
While the Carolina locker room was filled with speculation on whether coach John Fox will be back, if defensive end Julius Peppers will return and who the quarterback will be next season, the Saints were trying to convince folks they can turn it around in two weeks in the divisional round.