Newton said after the game that it wasn't his head that had gotten injured.
"It's been a blessing, today was a blessing for us", said Ginn, "You know we put all the hard work into this week we knew what we was getting ourselves into". The only remaining players from the teams are Vikings defensive end Brian Robison, and Saints quarterback Drew Brees and punter Thomas Morstead.
Newton needed a running game, but that evaporated after Week 10, which was when Jonathan Stewart's annual expiration date arrived and reality finally settled in to the brain trust that rookie sensation Christian McCaffrey is not a running back as much as he's a flanker.
Newton walked toward the Panthers' sideline and appeared to stumble to the turf as trainers met him a few yards from the bench area. "But it wasn't my head". "My helmet came down low on my eyelid, and it got pressed by the player's stomach I believe. I thought that maybe somebody had stuck a finger in my eye".
While interim general manager Marty Hurney and coach Ron Rivera believe the Panthers followed the protocol, a new National Football League rule says players who show "gross motor instability or significant loss of balance" must be evaluated in the locker room.
"We wanted him to sit down to give DA a chance to warm up", Rivera said. But like the saying goes it doesn't mean a thing without the ring!
In a season where the big stories were about the Saints offense relying less on Drew Brees and more on a power running game featuring Alvin Kamara and Ingram, Sunday was about Drew Brees reminding everyone he's still wonderful at 38 years old. Derek Anderson came in and his pass was batted down by Cam Jordan, his second batted pass of the game to along with a sack. When Carolina regained possession, Newton returned to the field and guided the Panthers on their final two possessions. The Saints won 34-13 on September 24 and 31-21 on December 3. Against Carolina, they allowed Newton to pass for 349 yards, his second most all season. "I said, 'Don't worry about it'". I'll take New Orleans in a close one, 27-24. This is the best Saints team I've ever seen even better than the Super Bowl team in my opinion. That comes with a lot of responsibility.
Ginn caught a total of four passes for 115 yards Sunday.
And yet, there they were on Sunday, still sending No. 22 into the line between the tackles in a series of wasted and meaningless plays that only took time off the clock and took the ball out of the hands of the only player on the team capable of moving the offense.
Newton moved Carolina 35 yards in 43 seconds and Gano made a 58-yard field goal with no time left to cut New Orleans' lead to 21-9 at halftime. He was also key in helping force an intentional grounding on the final drive.
Rivera didn't agree with the penalty. That's tough. That's a tough one to handle.
"I think the vision for each player was clear", said Payton, who pointed out that New Orleans had to spend wisely because of salary-cap constraints. That was only because I picked the upset in the late game, as neither of the Vegas line favorites managed to win. Drew Bree's threw for 376 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception on 23 of 33 passing, while Alvin Kamara led the team in rushing with 23 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
Ultimately, Jordan does have a lot of respect for Newton, who is one of the hardest quarterbacks in the National Football League to corral, although the Saints star sacked him once on Sunday, batted down two passes, forced a pivotal intentional grounding penalty and helped Vonn Bell clean up Newton on the game's final play.
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group.