Tony Jones Jr. rushed for his first two NFL touchdowns and the New Orleans Saints dominated on defense for the second consecutive game in a 20-17 victory against the Carolina Panthers on Monday in Charlotte, N.C.
Jones, in his fourth NFL season, took on an expanded role because of a hamstring injury sustained during the game by Jamaal Williams, who was starting in place of a suspended Alvin Kamara.
Derek Carr completed just 21 of 36 passes for 228 yards with one interception and no touchdowns, but he provided enough offensive balance for the Saints to improve to 2-0.
Bryce Young, the rookie No. 1 overall draft choice, struggled against New Orleans' aggressive defense, connecting on 22 of 33 passes for 153 yards with one touchdown.
New Orleans wound up with a 341-239 edge in total yards.
The Saints, who didn't allow a touchdown in a season-opening 16-15 home victory against the Tennessee Titans, didn't allow a touchdown in the first half on Monday, but neither did the Panthers (0-2).
Eddy Pineiro tied his career long with a 54-yard field goal to pull Carolina even at 6-6 early in the third quarter.
The first touchdown came when Carr drove the Saints 75 yards on 10 plays and Jones ran 2 yards to give New Orleans a 13-6 lead with just under three minutes left in the third period.
In the fourth quarter, Young scrambled for 26 yards on third-and-11 to move the Panthers to the New Orleans 41. That led to Pineiro's 36-yard field goal that pulled Carolina within 13-9 with 5:30 left.
Carr threw a 45-yard completion to Rashid Shaheed, leading to Jones' 2-yard touchdown run that increased the lead to 20-9 with 3:14 remaining.
Young tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen and they teamed up on a two-point conversion pass to pull the hosts within 20-17 with 1:16 left. However, New Orleans recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock.
On the Panthers' first possession, Young drove his team 31 yards to Pineiro's 52-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Blake Grupe kicked a 28-yard field goal to tie the score at the end of the first quarter.
New Orleans drove to the Carolina 4 before stalling, and Grupe's 23-yard field goal gave the Saints a 6-3 lead.
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