New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees emphasized Thursday how one bad outing like the Saints produced last week in Seattle wouldn't shatter the team's confidence in any way.

The Carolina Panthers learned about the Saints' resolve the hard way Sunday night. New Orleans' offense awoke from its Week 13 slumber and the defense outshined Carolina, the league's No. 1 scoring defense entering the game, as the Saints toppled the Panthers 31-13 on Sunday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Saints (10-3) extended their winning streak in home primetime games to 13, including victories in 16 of their past 17 night games in the Dome. But most important, the win gave the Saints sole possession in the NFC South ahead of Carolina (9-4).

The Saints' offense dusted off an oldie, but a goodie, with Brees and Marques Colston becoming quite chummy around the end zone. Brees threaded the needle twice to Colston for two second-quarter touchdowns to push the Saints ahead 14-6.

Brees scanned the field, looking first for Jimmy Graham on a corner route. The Saints' quarterback worked through his progressions and found Colston for a 6-yard strike to take a 7-6 lead with 13:35 left in the second quarter.

It had been a while since Darren Sproles has pulled off one of his shifty runs, but his 38-yard scamper set up the go-ahead TD. He broke free along the Saints' sideline, the highlight of the run coming at the expense of Carolina safety Mike Mitchell, who was faked out as Sproles flew past him for extra yardage down to the Panthers' 20.