Panthers LB Thomas Davis says Saints will try to run up score

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Linebacker Thomas Davis believes the New Orleans Saints tried to run the score up on the Carolina Panthers in the fourth quarter of last season’s 31-13 loss at the Superdome.

“If you look back to the last game we played down there, they got a big lead on us and they were still dropping back and trying to throw the ball deep," Davis said on Thursday as he prepared for Sunday’s game in New Orleans.

“I mean, that speaks volumes, when you have a team down and it’s late in the fourth quarter and you’re still trying to throw the ball deep."

The Saints had the ball for 13 plays in the fourth quarter. Nine were pass plays, and another was going to be before the Panthers sacked quarterback Drew Brees for a 9-yard loss.

According to the NFL game summary, the longest completion was for 22 yards, and that described as a short pass over the middle to tight end Jimmy Graham.

Graham caught an 8-yard touchdown pass on the next play to make it 31-6.

Carolina answered with a touchdown to make it 31-13. The Saints ran for no gain on the first play of their next series, Brees was sacked and then completed a 9-yard pass to running back Pierre Thomas on third-and-24 following a delay-of-game penalty.

Brees took a knee on the game’s final two plays.

Davis still believed what New Orleans did in the fourth quarter was a “sign of disrespect."

“As a player, you’ve got to go out and compete,’’ he said. “You can’t sit back and think that they’re going to feel sorry for us. We had three or four quarters to get it done the right way. If they get a big lead, shame on us."

Coach Ron Rivera said he hasn’t reminded his players of the fourth quarter in New Orleans last season.

“I haven’t had to," he said.

Rivera said he doesn’t particularly like it when a team keeps throwing late with a big lead, but noted that goes back to individual philosophies.

“It ticks me off, but hey ... we’ve got to do something about it," he said. “I’m not going to tell him how to run his football team and he’s not going to tell me how to run mine."

There was more evidence of New Orleans throwing deep in the fourth quarter of a 45-17 victory over Carolina in 2011. The score was 38-17 when Brees threw deep to wide receiver Devery Henderson.

The Saints put their backup quarterback in halfway through the quarter.

Rivera said he wasn’t aware of how the late-game philosophy of New Orleans coach Sean Payton compared to others.

“I know this," he said. “Offensive coaches are going to do what offensive coaches do. They’re going to run their offense."