The Panthers were the Big Cheesey Sunday in the Big Easy

Case closed on John Kasay’s field goal to win the NFC’s South Division and earn the week one bye in the post-season playoffs which will be missing New England, Dallas, Washington, Chicago, Denver, Tampa Bay, the New York Jets and New Orleans……

NEW ORLEANS — With six seconds left, some Panthers couldn’t look.

Their division title and playoff fate rested upon the left foot of John Kasay – a foot that for so long this season had been perfect but in the past seven days had seen two kicks go astray – twice as many as he’d missed in the season’s first 14 weeks.

The Carolina sideline rattled with nervous energy and tension. Some players paced. Others prayed. But some weren’t nervous.

“John Kasay, the Iceman,” said running back DeAngelo Williams.

Williams had taken his cue from Kasay himself.

“Nervous? I knew it was going to happen,” he said. “I knew it was going to happen here last year. I knew last week it was going to happen. You just know. You get these feelings.”

While others prayed and muttered, while some cowered and covered their faces, Kasay took his paces. The New Orleans crowd roared, stirred out of its slumber by a stunning Saints rally that had turned a 20-point deficit into a one-point lead.

But Kasay took it away…and took the Panthers home as NFC South champions with a 42-yard field goal that gave Carolina a 33-31 triumph, sealed the franchise’s best regular-season record in a dozen years and – most importantly – secured the second seed and a precious bye week in the NFC playoffs.