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Carolina Panthers ran 11 plays in 5 minutes for a total of 18 yards and 3 points, their second-most futile drive of the season

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11 plays for 18 yards inside the red zone ... it surely wasn’t the outcome Carolina wanted.

The Panthers’ first possession on Thursday Night Football against the Saints came after a strip sack on Drew Brees gave Carolina the ball on the New Orleans 32-yard line. The Panthers then took 11 plays and 4:46 minutes to go 18 yards only to settle for a field goal.

Last week, the Panthers did something similar, but record-breaking. They had a 20-play drive that ended in a punt, something no team has done in at least years, which is as far back as the database goes on that kind of thing.

At least they got points on this one.

Here’s how the Panthers’ 11-play drive went 18 yards and netted them three points.

Four plays into the drive, the Panthers had gotten inside the 15 and were on the New Orleans 12-yard line, and it looked as though Ted Ginn Jr. had gotten into the end zone. A review of the play revealed he was down on the 1-yard line.

With a new set of downs and just one yard to go, the Panthers had to be able to punch it into the end zone, right?

Wrong. Four plays later, they settled for a field goal. But then Kenny Vaccaro was flagged for roughing the kicker, which gave the Panthers another first down on the New Orleans 12-yard line.

So with another fresh set of downs inside the New Orleans 15-yard line, the Panthers absolutely had to be able to score a touchdown, right?

Well, no.

Cam Newton lost eight yards on a rushing attempt on first down. Incomplete passes on second and third downs meant it was on Graham Gano to get Carolina on the board, and he did, giving the Panthers a 3-0 lead in the first quarter.

That was an 11-play drive, nine of which were inside the 15-yard line, and the Panthers were able to move the ball 18 yards and come away with three points.

At least the Panthers started the possession in field goal range and didn’t have to punt, which is how they capped a 20-play drive against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 10.