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; hopefully we’ll be able to bask in their failures together.
New Orleans Saints 31, Arizona Cardinals 9
The Saints welcomed Drew Brees back into the lineup after going 5-0 in his absence, and took advantage of getting to play against a shorthanded Cardinals teams that was down David Johnson.
The Cardinals kept things within arms reach throughout the first half, going into the break down 10-6. They couldn’t keep up in the second half, however, as New Orleans shut down the run and weren’t beaten by Kyler Murray.
Back-to-back touchdown drives at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarters pretty much sealed Arizona’s fate in this one, especially after running back Chase Edmonds went down to injury. The Cardinals were kept out of the end zone all afternoon, as the Saints tacked on an added TD late in the fourth to really make it a blowout.
Brees recorded 373 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, and one interception. Latavius Murray was the leading rusher sans Alvin Kamara, going for 102 yards and accounting for both a rushing and receiving touchdown. Michael Thomas was the leading receiver with 112 yards and a score.
Kyler Murray was held in check, going for 220 yards and no touchdowns. Christian Kirk took an end around for 19 rushing yards and that made him the team’s leading rusher. Charles Clay was the leading receiver with three big catches for 88 yards.
Tennessee Titans 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23
In a pretty exciting back and forth early game, the Titans came from behind to win on the back of a lone fourth-quarter touchdown.
There were plenty of first half scoring drives with Tennessee going for two touchdowns and a field goal and Tampa Bay answering with two field goals and a TD, at the very of the half. Following an early second-half fumble, the Bucs took the lead with a Mike Evans touchdown catch before both defenses turned it on.
Down by three, A.J. Brown scored what ended up being the game-winning touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter for Tennessee. Tampa Bay had three drives to make something happen after that, but they turned it over each time.
Ryan Tannehill had 193 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, and no interceptions. Derrick Henry ran for 75 yards. Jonnu Smith was the leading receiver with 78 yards and a score.
Jameis Winston threw for 301 passing yards, two touchdowns, but also had two interceptions and two lost fumbles. He was also Tampa’s leading rusher with 53 yards. Mike Evans went off to the tune of 198 receiving yards and two touchdown catches.
San Francisco 49ers 51, Carolina Panthers 13
I miss Kyle Shanahan — the actual coach who orchestrated Atlanta’s Super Bowl run in 2016. His 49ers are a buzzsaw, improving to 7-0 after thoroughly demolishing the Panthers.
Carolina made it 7-3 on their second possession of the game, and this had the makings of a very good football game at that point. Then San Fran absolutely ran away with it. Three of their next four possessions went for touchdowns, and their defense shut Kyle Allen down.
Defensive Rookie of the Year frontrunner Nick Bosa had three sacks and an interception. When Carolina did finally break through to score their lone touchdown, making it a 27-13 game, the Niners kicked it into yet another gear and scored 24 unanswered points to finish the game.
Jimmy Garoppolo game-managed his way to 175 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, and one interception. Tevin Coleman exploded for four touchdowns — three rushing and one receiving — along with 105 rushing yards. George Kittle was the leading receiver with 86 yards.
Kyle Allen, who had no interceptions coming into this one, threw three picks along with no touchdowns while throwing for 158 yards. Christian McCaffrey had 117 rushing yards and a touchdown. Curtis Samuel was the leading receiver with 46 yards.
NFC South Standings after Week 8
1. New Orleans Saints (7-1 overall record; 1-0 division record) - Next: Bye
2. Carolina Panthers (4-3 overall record; 1-1 division record) - Next vs. Titans
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5 overall record; 1-2 divisional record) - Next at Seahawks
4. Atlanta Falcons (1-6 overall record; 0-0 divisional record) - Next: Bye