D'Onta Foreman and Marcus Davenport got an early start to their respective offseasons on Sunday.
The Panthers eventually won 10-7 on an Eddy Pineiro field goal as time expired.
The incident took place early in the third quarter with the Saints leading, 7-0. Foreman was stuffed on a first-down run and pushed Davenport away when he stood up after being tackled. Davenport responded by smacking Foreman on the side of his helmet. Foreman then threw a right hook that caught Davenport square in the face mask.
Flags were thrown, and players were separated. Officials then announced that both Foreman and Davenport were ejected.
The ejections don't matter much in terms of the bigger picture. Both teams were already eliminated from the playoff race before kickoff. But the NFC South generally doesn't need incentive for bad blood to boil over. This time, flaring tempers led players to risk injury to themselves by hitting each other in the helmet.
They also cost Foreman a long shot at his first 1,000-yard rushing season. Forman took over as Carolina's lead back after the midseason trade of Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers. The fifth-year running back entered Sunday with 846 rushing yards and 26 as a pass-catcher. He added 68 rushing yards before his ejection and will end his season with 940 yards from scrimmage.