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.
This article series’ sole purpose will be to take a look at the weekly performances of the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers and to look at how the NFC South is shaping up week in and week out.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 46, Carolina Panthers 23
The Buccaneers bounced back from last week’s Sunday night embarrassment with the type of offensive explosion many were expecting from this unit. This had the first half makings of a back and forth barnburner, with the teams going into the break tied at 17.
The Bucs kicked it into another gear on both sides of the ball in the second half. Defensively, they gave up one touchdown and nothing more, forcing two punts, two turnovers on downs and an interception on every other drive.
Offensively, the Bucs scored on every single second half drive. Ronald Jones’ 98-yard score on the second one of those drives broke the game open. From there, it was yet another vintage performance from Tom Brady, who dissected the defense at every turn.
Brady had a bounce back game with 341 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Ronald Jones used that 98-yard scamper to power an overall 192-yard rushing performance. Chris Godwin was the leading receiver with 92 yards.
Teddy Bridgewater had 136 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, one interception and he added a rushing touchdown as well. Bridgewater left the game early with a knee injury. Mike Davis was the leading rusher with 32 yards. D.J. Moore had a game high 96 receiving yards along with a touchdown.
New Orleans Saints 27, San Francisco 49ers 13
The Saints won a sloppy game against the walking dead 49ers, who have second stringers playing at seemingly every position, but the major story in this one was Drew Brees leaving early after sustaining a rib injury in the first half.
The 49ers got off to 10-0 start where they kept the Saints’ offense on the sidelines and controlled the clock before everything came crashing down. The turning point was a muffed punt which set the Saints up to tie the game via a short field. From there, things got out of hand even as Jameis Winston took over in the second half.
The Saints defense forced four turnovers and held the Niners to just three points in the final three quarters. Kyle Shanahan’s unit looked like a shell of its former self, with all of the injuries. The New Orleans offense wasn’t spectacular but they moved the ball well enough to make it a comfortable win.
Drew Brees had 76 passing yards and a touchdown before the injury. Jameis Winston had 63 passing yards in relief. Alvin Kamara had just 15 rushing yards but he was also the team’s leading receiver with 83 yards through the air. He also scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving).
Nick Mullens had 247 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Jerick McKinnon led the team in rushing with 33 yards on 18 attempts — a pathetic 1.8 yards per carry. Brandon Aiyuk was the leading receiver with 75 yards and a score.
NFC South Standings after Week 10
1. New Orleans Saints (7-2 overall record; 4-0 division record) - Next vs. Falcons
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3 overall record; 1-2 division record) - Next vs. Rams (MNF)
3. Atlanta Falcons (3-6 overall record; 1-1 division record) - Next BYE
4. Carolina Panthers (3-7 overall record; 1-4 division record) - Next vs. Lions