First look: New Orleans Saints take on Carolina Panthers Sunday _lowres

Associated Press photo by BOB LEVERONE -- New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram scores a touchdown in the second half of last year's game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C.

The Saints picked a perfect time to end their road struggles - at least for one night.

Mark Ingram bullied his way through the Carolina Panthers defense then watched his Saints defense ground Cam Newton's heroics to earn a 28-10 win Thursday night at Bank of America Stadium.

With the victory, the Saints (4-4) not only won their first road game of the 2014 season, but are in first place in the NFC South. The Panthers dropped to 3-5-1.

Ingram led the way for the offense for second time in as many weeks, taking advantage of extra carries to rush a career-high 30 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns, including a three-yard run with 5:30 left.

The Saints now played three consecutive games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, including a Nov. 9 match against San Francisco.

Drew Brees recovered from a fluke interception on the game's first possession to throw for 297 yards and one score. Brees also scored on a one-yard sneak midway through the third quarter.

Newton finished with 151 passing yards and 43 rushing yards with a score, but was pressured early and often by Junior Galette and others

Not that the game looked as bright for the Saints in the first quarter.

The Saints' first possession ended with an interception caused by a deflection of a pass to Kenny Stills at the Carolina 3.

After a Panthers punt, Brees was sacked near midfield by Charles Johnson. On the play, it appeared fullback Erick Lorig, pass protecting in the backfield, bumped into Brees, knocking out the ball.

Yet again, Carolina failed to take advantage.

With 11:06 left before halftime, Galette sacked Newton from behind, knocking loose the football, which was recovered by linebacker Curtis Lofton at the Panthers 4. Two plays later, Ingram scored from three yards.

After another Carolina punt, the Saints compiled their best drive of the first half, capped by a one-yard Brees TD pass to Jimmy Graham. with six seconds left in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, Newton led Carolina to its first score by scrambling past the Saints blitz for a 10-yard TD run.