Carolina snapped a 20-20 tie when John Kasay kicked a 51-yard field goal with 2:40 remaining, but Brooks engineered a 74-yard drive in just four plays to extend the Panthers' franchise-record losing streak to 11 games.
On the first play, running back Ricky Williams turned a short pass by Brooks into a 42-yard gain to the Carolina 32. Brooks completed a 14-yard pass to tight end Eddie "Boo" Williams to the 18 before Ricky Williams rushed for one yard, forcing the Panthers to use their final timeout with 1:35 left on the clock.
"They had a guy on the sidelines to keep me inbounds, so I stayed inbounds and made them miss me," said Ricky Williams of his 42-yard catch, "Our coaches were yelling at me to get out of bounds but I didn't pay any attention to them. They can't cut me."
On the next play, Brooks lofted a pass to Horn in the right corner of the end zone for the wide receiver's fifth touchdown in his last six games.
"It's something that we had to do," Horn said. "We had to find a way to win."
"I felt like if I pump-fake it, I can at least make (the defensive backs) hesitate for a split second and put it outside to Joe," Brooks said.
Ricky Williams rushed for 102 yards on 27 carries, becoming the first player in franchise history to record back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with 1,014.
"I'm happy to get it over with," Williams said. "It doesn't mean anything if we don't win."
Horn had 13 receptions, just one short of the franchise record set by Tony Galbreath on September 10, 1978 at Green Bay. Horn's gained 150 yards receiving, marking the third time this season he gained 100 yards receiving and the seventh time in his career.
"We had to find a way to win," Horn said. "That is what it's been like for the past seven or eight weeks. We played against a team that we should have come out and showed some confidence and score points anyway."
New Orleans (5-5) totaled 432 yards on offense and allowed Carolina only 150 as the Saints registered eight sacks resulting in minus-60 yards for the Panthers. The Saints have sacked Carolina's quarterbacks 25 times in the last four meetings between the teams, all New Orleans victories.
"They really couldn't stop us the whole game," Williams said. "It was just a question of overcoming mistakes. If we do our thing and do it right, nobody can stop us."
"The two things we do best on this football team: offense, we run the ball, defense, we rush the passer," New Orleans coach Jim Haslett said. "We stressed all week to the defensive line that they had to come off the ball, run and pass, to get some penetration. I thought they did a great job today."
The eight sacks were one more than they had combined in the last four contests and were one shy of the club record they set on December 1, 1985 against the Los Angeles Rams.
The win marked the second time this season that the Saints came from behind to beat the Panthers (1-11). Ricky Williams ran for a one-yard touchdown on October 14 in the game's final play as the Saints squandered a 17-0 lead before rallying for a 27-25 victory.
Six of Carolina's 11 losses have come by a total of 16 points.
"We haven't been consistent enough, offensively," Panthers coach George Seifert said. "Probably, if we were a little bit more consistent offensively, we wouldn't be in these positions."
Quarterback Chris Weinke opened the scoring for the Panthers with 4:05 left in the first quarter on a six-yard run, giving Carolina a 7-0 lead.
John Carney gave New Orleans its first points with a 43-yard field goal midway through the second quarter before Brooks connected with fullback Terrelle Smith on a four-yard pass that was deflected by Carolina linebacker Darren Hambrick. Smith grabbed it along the right sidelines, keeping his feet inbounds before falling out with just 49 seconds left before halftime.
"I knew that I had to go up and get it, so I caught it and kept my feet in bounds," Smith said. "That is something players dream about, especially a full back."
"I felt that if I could get one hand up in the air, I should've gotten two up."
It was an eight-play drive with Brooks and Horn connecting on a 4th-and-6 pass to the Panthers 27 two plays earlier to keep the drive going.
Carney booted a 24-yarder with 9:01 left in the third making it 13-7, but Kasay answered with a 47-yarder of his own with 2:40 left in the quarter.
Brooks connected with Albert Connell on a four-yard pass just four seconds into the final quarter, giving the Saints a 20-10 lead, but Carolina wasn't finished.
Kasay booted a 23-yarder 1:47 later before Weinke tied the game with his second rushing TD of the game, this time from a yard out, tying the game with 5:49 remaining.
"We let Carolina hang around," Haslett said. "We played a little inconsistent on offense but we picked it up when we had to and that is what it kind of boils down to."
Weinke's two scores were the only times he carried the ball. He completed 11-of-19 passes for 161 yards, but was taken out of the game on the final play, replaced by lefthander Matt Lytle, who's desperation pass was intercepted by cornerback Fred Thomas.
"Our goal is for the playoffs next year with the guys in this locker room," Weinke said. "It's been tough on all of us trying to stay positive, continuing to work hard and ultimately, we hope that this will pay off."