It’s common knowledge in sports that, if you take care of your own business, you don’t have to worry about anybody else as far as the standings are concerned.
While this is entirely true, getting some help along the way is never a bad thing. This column will be completely dedicated to the results of the other three NFC South teams throughout the season, and hopefully we’ll be able to bask in their failures together.
Jameis Winston isn’t good. The Bengals blew the barn doors off the putrid Tampa Bay resistance, for the most part, in this game, but some terrible play from Winston cost the Bucs dearly, even with a cameo appearance from Fitzmagic.
After a turnover on downs and a punt on their initial two drives, the Bengals rattled off four straight touchdown-scoring drives before halftime to take a 27-9 lead into the break. What made matters worse were two Winston interceptions which helped set that score up.
In the middle of a third quarter comeback attempt, Winston was subsequently benched after throwing his fourth interception of the game, this one being returned for a touchdown to make the score 34-16. Up stepped Ryan Fitzpatrick, who found the magic once again and lead the Bucs all the way back with 18 straight points. Andy Dalton led a game-winning drive to set up a Randy Bullock field goal after the Bucs tied it, however.
Winston ended his disastrous day with 276 passing yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. He’s now tied for the league lead in interceptions with 10, despite playing in only four games this year. Fitzpatrick had 194 passing yards and two touchdowns in relief. Mike Evans was the leading receiver with 179 receiving yards and a score.
Andy Dalton had a solid game on the other side, throwing for 280 yards and two touchdowns. Joe Mixon gashed the Bucs on the ground to the tune of 123 rushing yards and two TDs, while Tyler Boyd was the leading receiver with 138 receiving yards and a score.
You’ve got to hand it to the Panthers, they’ve won some games they shouldn’t have won this season, and have catapulted into a good situation by mixing those in with some dominant performances like this one.
The Ravens went into Carolina after blowing it against the Saints and once again did Atlanta no favors. After scoring a touchdown on the first drive of the game, they got bullied. The Panthers would go on to score 24 unanswered points over the course of the rest of the half to shatter Baltimore’s spirit.
This one was over at halftime, so it didn’t really matter that the Ravens won the second half with a 18-12 scoreline. They pulled it to within 27-14 in the third quarter, but any hopes of a comeback were quickly destroyed with an immediate answer from Cam Newton, in the form of a subsequent 85-yard drive.
Newton had 219 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, along with 52 rushing yards and a third score on the ground. Christian McCaffrey accounted for 56 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns, while Greg Olsen caught his second TD in as many games.
For the Ravens, Joe Flacco was not good — he had 192 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Alex Collins tallied 49 rushing yards and a score.
New Orleans Saints 30, Minnesota Vikings 20
Everything was going so well for the Vikings, and then they shot themselves in the foot. When they were trying to recover and mitigate the damage, they shot themselves in the other foot.
The Vikings looked like the better team for the better part of the first half, leading 13-10, and they were on the doorstep of a third touchdown near the half’s closing stages. Then, Adam Thielen fumbled at the New Orleans 13-yard line, and the Saints ended up with the ball at the Minnesota 18-yard line. Kamara scored two plays later to take a 17-13 lead.
Down 20-13 and looking to drive early on in the third quarter, Kirk Cousins threw one of the worst passes you’ll ever see, and it was taken back for a touchdown by P.J. Williams. From there the Saints slowly sucked the life out of Minnesota with some incredibly long drives, and prevailed without too much stress.
Brees didn’t stuff the stat sheets, throwing for only 120 yards, one touchdown and an interception, but did what he needed to do in order to preserve the victory. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara split 26 carries down the middle with Ingram accounting for more yardage but Kamara scoring both of his team’s touchdowns.
Kirk Cousins had 359 passing yards, two touchdowns and that ugly pic 6. Latavius Murray score his fourth rushing TD in three games, while Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs each went for over 100 receiving yards and a touchdown. Thielen has tied Calvin Johnson for the most 100-yard receiving games in row with eight.
NFC South Standings after Week 8
1. New Orleans Saints (6-1 overall record; 1-1 division record) - Next vs. Rams
2. Carolina Panthers (5-2 overall record; 0-1 divisional record) - Next vs. Buccaneers
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4 overall record; 1-1 divisional record) - Next at Panthers