Chris Graythen/Getty Images(NEW ORLEANS) -- The New Orleans Saints took a big step towards securing a division title by beating the Carolina Panthers 31-13 on Sunday night. Both teams entered the game tied atop the NFC South standings.
After falling behind 6-0 in the first quarter, Drew Brees led an offensive onslaught on one of the NFL's best defenses. The Saints (10-3) quarterback threw for three touchdowns in the first half, finding Marques Colston in the endzone twice before connecting with tight end Jimmy Graham with just 18 seconds left in the half for a 21-6 lead.
New Orleans continued their assault in the second half. Graham caught his second touchdown pass of the night in the fourth as the Saints reeled off 31 straight points. The Panthers (9-4) tried to answer late when Cam Newton and Steve Smith combined for the only Carolina touchdown of the night on a 17-yard pass with less than six minutes remaining.
Brees finished the night with 313 passing yards and became just the fifth quarterback all-time to eclipse the 50,000-yard mark. Newton ended his night with just 160 passing yards while rushing for 48 more.
The two teams will meet again in two weeks on Sun., Dec. 22 in North Carolina.
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