New Orleans Saints Head Coach Dennis Allen addressing the media after the NFL Football game Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023 in New Orleans, La. (Hunter Dawkins/The Gazebo Gazette via AP)

by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/Owner – thegazebogazette@gmail.com

The New Orleans Saints (7-10) official 2022-23 NFL season is over after Sunday’s loss to NFC South Division rival Carolina Panthers 10-7 at the Caesar’s Superdome in New Orleans, La.  With the Saints first time finishing with 10 losses since 2005, the offense only scored over 30 points twice this season while the defense allowed 20 points or less in the last eight games.

“We had some opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of and let this team hang around,” expressed New Orleans Saints Head Coach Dennis Allen, who finished his first year.  “There was some miscommunication on a few things, there certainly was a multitude of things and we certainly didn’t execute well.”

The Saints were eliminated from playoff contention with Tampa Bay’s win over Carolina last Saturday, giving them the NFC South Division title.

New Orleans started strong, opening with an eight play drive that led to a 25-yard touchdown from Saints Quarterback Andy Dalton to Wide Receiver Chris Olave.  After the extra point conversion, the Saints took an early 7-0  lead with 11:01 left in the first quarter that lasted until the second half and it was the only score for the game from New Orleans.

The rest of the first half was squandered with turnovers, penalties, sacks, a missed field goal and mishaps by both teams that ended with the 7-0 score by the Saints.

New Orleans had some statistical offensive advantages, outgaining Carolina 304 yards to 203, but the game remained tight until the end because of New Orleans’ inability to score.

In a strange goal line stand during the third quarter, Carolina Quarterback Sam Darnold fumbled on third down into the end zone and was recovered by offensive lineman Michael Jordan for a touchdown that tied the game with 6:45 left during the third quarter.

The Saints were in position during the fourth quarter to win New Orleans Safety Daniel Sorensen intercepted Darnold near midfield and returned it to the Carolina 35 with 1:36 to go. However, New Orleans didn’t move the ball and Saints Placekicker Wil Lutz missed a 55-yard field goal attempt.

Darnold moved Carolina (7-10) inside midfield range and then completed a 21 yarder to Receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. to set up the game winning 42-yard field goal by the Panthers Placekicker Eddy Pineiro as time expired.

The New Orleans Saints will go into Head Coach Dennis Allen’s first offseason with close to ten players entering free agency while also looking towards the NFL Draft from April 27-29, 2023.

Front Photo: New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara during the first half an NFL football game between the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)