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.
The division is out of reach for the Falcons at this point, but let’s keep up with how the division foes are doing anyway.
The Fitzmagic has been used up for the Bucs this season, but Jameis Winston is proving that he has the makings of a decent quarterback. In this battle of bottom-feeder teams, the Bucs used a win to move into a tie with the Falcons in the division cellar.
It was a punt fest in the first quarter, with both teams combining to kick it away six times with a Tampa Bay touchdown drive sandwiched in between. Kyle Shanahan’s unit tied the game with their first drive of the second quarter before the Bucs nailed a pair of field goals before the half.
Two touchdown-scoring drives on their first two second-half possessions effectively sealed the game for Tampa Bay. Nick Mullens’ two interceptions in the fourth quarter definitely put it out for reach for San Fran.
Winston diced through the porous 49ers defense with relative ease throughout the afternoon, and he managed to not turn the ball over once which feels like a minor miracle at this point.
Winston finished with 312 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Peyton Barber tallied just 47 rushing yards but he did score a touchdown in his second straight game. Mike Evans led the team with 116 receiving yards and became just the second player to ever tally 1000 receiving yards in each of his first five seasons.
Mullens, on the other side, threw for 221 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Matt Breida had a wonderful 106 rushing yards on just 14 carries and Dante Pettis had 77 receiving yards and the lone touchdown score.
Things are unravelling very quick up in Charlotte, as the Carolina Panthers have lost their third straight game and have all of a sudden fallen out of the playoff picture by way of the tiebreaker they just surrendered to the Seahawks.
The Panthers always excel on their first drive for some reason, and they made it all way to Seattle’s 5-yard-line on their first possession in this one, but they came away empty-handed after going for it on fourth down and failing to convert. The teams would go on to trade a field goal and a touchdown each before the Panthers hit a field goal to take the lead right before the half.
They would continue matching each other score for score outside of a Cam Newton interception thrown to begin the second half. It would be a deadlock at the end of the third quarter, before Cam Newton led his team into the end zone by way of 75 yards in just five plays. Russell Wilson immediately answered with a seven-play, 70-yard touchdown drive of his own.
Graham Gano, the prolific kicker who cost the Panthers in their defeat against the Lions last week, missed another field goal in the late stages of this one. Seattle would take the ball and go on a subsequent game-winning drive where Sebastian Janikowski won it with a kick of his own.
This is the second straight week of the Panthers shooting themselves in the foot with a missed field goal and an unsuccessful gamble from “Riverboat Ron”. It feels like a carbon copy of last week.
Cam Newton finished with 256 passing yards, two touchdowns, one interception and an additional 63 rushing yards. Christian McCaffrey was the team’s leading rusher and receiver with 125 rushing yards, 112 receiving yards and a touchdown scored by each method.
Russell Wilson tallied 339 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Chris Carson paced the Seahawks on the ground with 55 rushing yards and a score, while Tyler Lockett and David Moore each recorded over 100 receiving yards and a touchdown.
NFC South Standings after Week 11
2. Carolina Panthers (6-5 overall record; 1-1 divisional record) - Next at Buccaneers
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7 overall record; 1-2 divisional record) - Next vs. Panthers