The Panthers dared Saints QB Brees to beat them, and he did

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The NFL and the NFL Players Association will review to determine if the league's concussion protocol was followed when Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton left an NFL playoff game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

The NFL is investigating whether the Panthers violated concussion protocol by not bringing Newton back to the locker room to be evaluated.

Newton appeared to undergo some testing on the sidelines, but re-entered the game on the next drive.

After the game, Newton claimed that he suffered a minor eye injury as opposed to a concussion, which caused him to collapse on the field. Newton wouldn't even say it on Sunday. "My helmet had come down low enough over my eyelid, and it got pressed on a player's stomach, I believe". Backup quarterback Derek Anderson took over under center while Newton was examined in the medical tent on the Panthers' sideline.

The Carolina Panthers are under fire for their handling of Cam Newton following a big hit from the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

- Blake Bortles, Jaguars, ran for 88 yards and passed for 87 yards and a touchdown in Jacksonville's 10-3 win over Buffalo, becoming the second starting quarterback in the past 25 seasons to win a playoff game with more yards rushing than yards passing.

Cam Newton drove Carolina to a first down at the New Orleans 21, but after an incompletion he was pressured and called for intentional grounding.

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The story of the New Orleans Saints' surprisingly successful season was the long-awaited emergence of the roster around Drew Brees, after the star quarterback had nearly single-handedly led New Orleans to so many successful campaigns in the past.

"Our quarterback was out of the pocket", he said. He racked up 48 tackles, 13 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception this season, serving as the best defensive player on a Saints team that went 11-5 and won the NFC South. "I thought there was a receiver (Devin Funchess) in the vicinity". That's an old story, too: the blind spot about how bad a beating he's taking and whether it's ever enough to take him out of a game, at any point of the season, much less a playoff game.

Now, the National Football League have asked the Panthers to explain their handling of Newton's injury - adding that it has gotten in touch with the team's medical staff. "If he sends me his address, I can send him some sauce". "I feel like plenty of times this year it was up to me". I think we've shown offensively is that we have a lot of ways to be effective, a lot of weapons to spread the ball around.

But after one series without him, he would return to the fray.

"I've just got to be better", Newton said.

As a fan I always find the most emotionally exhausting New Orleans Saints games not the ones where the game is wild and seesaws back and forth all day but rather the ones where at a certain moment I've mentally relaxed and a Saints victory seems assured and then things start to go wrong - oh so very wrong.

The Panthers nearly made enough plays despite falling behind 31-19 with 5:08 left.

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