2) The Saints' defense is terrible. The battered secondary is particularly brutal, giving up two 50-plus-yard catches. New Orleans' defense made a Panthers' offense that came in looking anemic appear explosive. Corner Brandon Browner continued his disappointing season, getting smoked by Ted Ginn Jr. for a bomb. The poor play led to Sean Payton and Rob Ryan bickering on the sidelines. This marriage can't last much longer.
3) It's safe to say Verizon won't be ashamed of Luke McCown's game. In his first start since 2011, McCown played excellent in place of Drew Brees. The Saints' offense was what we expected entering the season, with the ground game and short-passing offense controlling the clock early (holding it for nearly 12 minutes of the first quarter).
McCown's displayed precision in dicing up the Panthers' secondary, going 30-of-37 passing for an astounding 81 completion percentage -- without brutal drops late and a fantastic interception by Panthers CB Josh Norman to thwart a comeback, McCown's numbers would have looked ever better. The backup gave the Saints a chance to win. The defense let them down.
4) Newton slung it with confidence all game long. The QB's accuracy still waxes and wanes, but with huge windows to throw in to, thanks to the Saints' pathetic secondary, he was able to throw for 300-plus yards for the first time since Week 10 2014.