Saints Fall To Panthers In Regular-Season Finale

(AP) Undrafted rookie Kyle Allen passed for 228 yards and two touchdowns for the Panthers before injuring his shoulder against a Saints squad looking ahead to the playoffs.

Allen, a third-stringer pressed into service with Cam Newton and backup Taylor Heinicke out, also ran for a short touchdown as Carolina snapped a seven-game slide. He led the Panthers to three TDs and a field goal on the first four drives of his first NFL start. He played until the fourth quarter, when he was hit hard by Saints rookie end Marcus Davenport while releasing an incomplete pass. 

Carolina (7-9) led 23-0 at halftime, marking the first time since coach Sean Payton was hired by New Orleans in 2006 that the Saints (13-3) were shut out at home in a first half. 

Allen's touchdowns went for 53 yards to receiver Curtis Samuel and 8 yards to tight end Ian Thomas. 

Having already clinched the NFC's top seed, Payton scratched several healthy offensive starters, including record-setting quarterback Drew Brees and dynamic second-year running back Alvin Kamara.

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