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.
Carolina Panthers 16, Houston Texans 10
Kyle Allen is 2-0 as the starter of the Carolina Panthers this season. Granted, he didn’t need to do much more than game manage a win this afternoon, it’s impressive nonetheless.
Just like last week, Allen began his afternoon by fumbling the ball away, but then settling in and doing the job the rest of the way. Each team traded field goals and turnovers until Christian McCaffrey finally broke through with a second quarter touchdown. The halftime score was 10-3, in a defensive struggle.
Allen fumbled on his first drive of the second half as well, and the Texans converted that into a game-tying touchdown. The rest of the game was about as anticlimactic as you can imagine, with the Panthers putting together enough offense for two field goals while leaning on their defense to shut everything else down.
Allen threw for 232 passing yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions, and had the two lost fumbles. Christian McCaffrey had 93 rushing yards on 27 carries, scoring his team’s only offensive TD in the process. McCaffrey was also the team’s leading receiver, with 86 receiving yards on 10 catches.
DeShaun Watson recorded 160 passing yards with no passing touchdowns, no interceptions, and one rushing touchdown. Carlos Hyde was the leading rusher with 58 yards on 12 carries, although Duke Johnson had 56 yards on half as many carries. DeAndre Hopkins was the leading receiver with 41 yards. He also threw an interception.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 55, Los Angeles Rams 40
For the second straight week, the Bucs were involved in arguably the most exciting game of the week. They were on the winning side of things this time around, opening some eyes with a statement win in Los Angeles. The 95 points these two teams combined to put up is the highest mark of the 2019 season thus far.
The Bucs came out like gangbusters in this one, jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the blink of an eye. From there on things would get even more wild and crazy. The Rams offense finally woke up after two Jared Goff interceptions to start the afternoon, scoring on each of their final three drives of the first half to cut the deficit to 28-17.
The Bucs scored points on four of their five second-half drives, with the other being a pick-six thrown by Jameis Winston. LA had three scoring drives in four attempts in the second half to try and keep pace, but a Goff fumble which was recovered for a touchdown proved to be the dagger late in the game.
Winston had himself an afternoon, throwing for 385 passing yards, four touchdowns, and the one interception. Ronald Jones ran for 70 yards and a score on 19 carries. Chris Godwin had a monster day with 12 receptions for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
Goff threw for 517 passing yards on a mind-blowing 68 attempts, as his team played from behind all afternoon, mostly due to his own egregious errors. Goff also threw for two passing touchdowns while committing four turnovers. Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown combined for 30 rushing yards on 10 total carries as the Rams had to abandon the run game. Robert Woods was the leading receiver with 164 yards on 13 catches.
New Orleans Saints 12, Dallas Cowboys 10
As much as I hate to do it, I really have to tip my cap to the job Sean Payton and the coaching staff has done down in New Orleans since losing Drew Brees. The Saints are 2-0 in Teddy Bridgewater’s two starts, beating the previously undefeated Seahawks and now Cowboys. It must be nice being able to rely on good coaching to get you results when times get tough.
This was a defensive slugfest which featured just one touchdown scored all evening. The Cowboys had more fumbles than scoring drives in the first half, and they went into the break trailing 9-3. On their first possession of the third quarter, they looked to have figured it out, going on an 11-play drive which was capped off by a Zeke Elliott touchdown.
Dallas would never score again, however, and New Orleans would turn the subsequent 15-play drive into a field goal which turned out to be the game winner. Each team traded two punts each in the fourth quarter before Dak Prescott was intercepted on a final hail marry attempt.
Bridgewater recorded 193 passing yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. Alvin Kamara was the rushing leader with 69 yards (nice), while Michael Thomas had nine receptions for 95 receiving yards.
Prescott accounted for 223 passing yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. While Ezekiel Elliott found the end zone, he was completely bottled up to the tune of 35 rushing yards on 18 carries. Zeke also fumbled the ball once. Former ESPN analyst Jason Witten was the leading receiver with 50 yards on four catches, but he did have a costly fumble in the first half.
NFC South Standings after Week 4
1. New Orleans Saints (3-1 overall record; 0-0 division record) - Next vs. Buccaneers
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2 overall record; 1-0 division record) - Next at Saints
3. Carolina Panthers (2-2 overall record; 0-1 division record) - Next vs. Jaguars
4. Atlanta Falcons (1-3 overall record; 0-0 division record) - Next at Texans