Photos | Panthers top Saints 17-13

Photos | Panthers top Saints 17-13

Credit: Getty Images

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 22: Domenik Hixon #87 of the Carolina Panthers makes the game winning touchdown in the fourth quarter to defeat the New Orleans Saints 17-13 as he celebrates with teammate Mike Tolbert #35 during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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by The Associated Press

WCNC.com

Posted on December 22, 2013 at 5:47 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Cam Newton threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Domenik Hixon with 23 seconds left to lift the Carolina Panthers to a 17-13 win over the New Orleans Saints and clinch the team's first playoff berth since 2008. 

Carolina (11-4) can wrap up the NFC South and a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win next Sunday at Atlanta. 

The Panthers intercepted Drew Brees twice and sacked him six times to avenge a 31-13 loss two weeks ago. 

Still, the Panthers needed some last-minute big plays from Newton to seal the win. After being held to 116 yards passing for the game's first 59 minutes, Newton led the Panthers 65 yards in 32 seconds for the go-ahead score. 

The Saints (10-5) can still clinch a playoff berth if Arizona loses to Seattle. 

New Orleans' road woes persist. The Saints have dropped five of their last six games away from the Superdome. 
 

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