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, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24
The Saints continue rolling despite Drew Brees’ injury. Since losing its star quarterback, New Orleans is 3-0 with wins against some very hot teams. It must be nice having a competent coach at the helm.
After a series of punts, a turnover, and a field goal, each of these offenses started getting the better of the opposing defense. Jameis Winston led a quick touchdown-scoring drive to open things up and to take a 7-3 lead before Teddy Bridgewater matched him with a touchdown drive of his own.
That was the first of three consecutive touchdown-scoring drives for the Saints, going into the third quarter. Those drives gave them a 24-10 lead before Winston led the Bucs on a monster 17-play touchdown drive which took 8:41 off the clock. Tampa Bay wouldn’t score again until garbage time, however. In the end, it was too much Teddy for Tampa Bay, who had no answer for the Saints’ aerial attack.
Bridgewater recorded 314 passing yards, tied a career high with four touchdown passes, and threw an interception. Alvin Kamara recorded 104 yards from scrimmage on 22 touches. Michael Thomas led everyone in receiving, totaling 182 yards and two touchdowns.
Winston didn’t turn the ball over but he only threw for 204 passing yards. He had two passing touchdowns as well. Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber were held to 67 rushing yards combined on 17 total carries. Chris Godwin was the leading receiver with 125 yards and two touchdowns. Mike Evans was held without a catch.
Carolina Panthers 34, Jacksonville Jaguars 27
Speaking of getting the job done without your starting quarterback, the Panthers notched another win in the Kyle Allen era.
Each team traded touchdowns to start the game, and then the Panthers defense clamped down, forcing four straight drives with no points allowed, including one which ended in a fumble recovered by Brian Burns for a 56-yard touchdown to give Carolina a 21-7 lead. Gardner Minshew and Jacksonville picked themselves up off the mat and scored 10 straight points before the half to make it 21-17.
The Jags started unlocking the Carolina defense, and they did their best to match the Panthers’ suddenly prolific offense in the second half. They managed to get within one point, late in the fourth quarter, before fullback Reggie Bonnafon broke off a monster 59-yard touchdown run. Minshew ended up going out with a whimper, fumbling away the potential game-tying drive.
Allen game-managed his way to 181 passing yards, one touchdown, and no turnovers. Christian McCaffrey went off to the tune of 237 yards from scrimmage and three total touchdowns. D.J. Moore was the leading receiver with 91 yards.
Despite the late fumble, Minshew had a fantastic afternoon, throwing for 374 passing yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Leonard Fournette totaled 108 rushing yards and a touchdown. D.J. Chark was the leading receiver with 164 yards and two scores.
NFC South Standings after Week 5
1. New Orleans Saints (4-1 overall record; 1-0 division record) - Next at Jaguars
2. Carolina Panthers (3-2 overall record; 0-1 division record) - Next at Buccaneers
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3 overall record; 1-1 division record) - Next vs. Panthers
4. Atlanta Falcons (1-4 overall record; 0-0 division record) - Next at Cardinals