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Lutz’s kick lifts Saints to dramatic 34-31 win over Panthers

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Saints quarterback Drew Brees, receiver Michael Thomas and kicker Wil Lutz celebrated a decisive string of late-game successes that put New Orleans on the cusp of a third straight NFC South crown.

The Carolina Panthers could only lament the first-and-goal they squandered just moments earlier in a third straight loss that has placed their playoff prospects in jeopardy.

Lutz kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired, and New Orleans beat Carolina 34-31 on Sunday to take a four-game lead in the NFC South with five games left.

“It’s exciting. It’s butterflies. But also, it’s confidence,” said Brees, who led the Saints from their own 14-yard line with 1:51 left to the Carolina 15 with 3 seconds remaining. “It’s unity. You feel like everybody knows the challenge ahead. Everybody knows what we need to do in order to accomplish whatever it is we need to accomplish to go win the game. Everybody just kind of locks in and goes.”

Lutz’s second game-winning kick this season capped a contest filled with late momentum shifts and critical errors — none bigger than Carolina kicker Joey Slye’s missed field goal from 28 yards with 2 minutes left.

Carolina trailed from early in the first quarter until 9:23 remained in the fourth quarter, when D.J. Moore reached up with his right hand to corral a fourth-and-goal pass in the back of the end zone to tie it at 31.

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Joel Rodgers

Joel Rodgers joined RSHV News 1 in January 2018 as a reporter/journalist. Prior to joining our team, Joel spent the previous 5 years as a morning show reporter, entertainment reporter, and sports reporter for a local television station. At 6’5”, he's the tallest reporter in the history of Shreveport, but it’s more than just his height that makes this Shreveport native stand out. His editing skills combined with his love for storytelling makes for a creative and talented addition to the RSHV News 1 team. After attending and graduating from Evangel Christian Academy, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Northwestern State University. Joel is very active in the Shreveport community having won several competitions in recent years. In 2017, he danced his way to victory in the annual Susan G. Komen event, “Dancing for the Cure." He’s also won the “Mudbug Madness” Crawfish eating contest in back-to-back years and was named the top celebrity chef at the “Louisiana Food Prize” cooking competition. If you have a story idea, news tip, or just want to say "hey" - you can do so by emailing Joel Rodgers at jrodgers@realshreveport.com

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