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.
The first Broncos drive of the day resulted in a blocked punt which was then converted into a touchdown catch by Chris Godwin. That pretty much set the tone for the entire afternoon.
The Bucs defense made Jeff Driskel’s life a nightmare — totaling six sacks, a safety and forcing two turnovers (a Driskel interception and a pic by backup Brett Rypien). Before they knew it, the Broncos found themselves down 23-3 in a game where they were completely outmatched.
Mike Evans seems to have taken that Rob Gronkowksi red zone role for Tom Brady in his new Tampa offense, as he scored two 1-yard touchdowns (his only receptions of the game). Godwin leaving the game with a hamstring injury is the only negative on what was an overall easy day for the Bucs.
Brady had 297 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Ronald Jones lead backfield duties with 53 rushing yards, and Scotty Miller had the game high 83 receiving yards.
Driskel totaled 176 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Melvin Gordon had 26 rushing yards, and Jerry Jeudy led the team with 55 receiving yards.
In their first game without Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers registered their first victory on the young season.
Turnovers were the major story for the Chargers in this one, as their two fumbles and one interception directly led to 13 Panther points, with Carolina scoring following every turnover. That was enough to help the hosts take an 11-point lead into the half.
Teddy Bridgewater led a safe, turnover free game and offensive coordinator Joe Brady turned Mike Davis into a poor man’s version of McCaffrey. Overall, that was just enough to stave off Justin Herbert, who got 70 of 99 yards on a final drive which started at the one and which was almost miraculously completed with a hook & ladder play which was dropped in the closing seconds.
Bridgewater had 235 passing yards, one touchdown and no turnovers. Davis had 46 rushing yards to go along with 45 receiving yards and a touchdown. D.J. Moore only caught two passes but that was enough for him to lead the team with 65 receiving yards.
Herbert had 330 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception and lost a fumble. Austin Ekeler led the team with 59 rushing yards and was second with 84 receiving yards. Keenan Allen had a game high 132 receiving yards and a score.
In a riveting back and forth Sunday Night Football game, the Green Bay Packers held off the Saints to continue their undefeated start to the season.
Four of Green Bay’s final five drives ended in points in a game where neither team had their top receiver. Overall, the Packers scored on seven of their nine drives in this game (not counting the end of game kneel down), as Aaron Rodgers kept getting chunk plays against an overmatched and sometimes over aggressive Saints defensive unit.
Both offenses delivered a masterclass, with the Saints using Alvin Kamara runs after the catch and the Packers using gut punch deep shots to match each other blow for blow. It felt like one of those games where the first offense to make a mistake would lose, and that mistake was in the form of a costly fumble by Tayson Hill which put the Packers in position to put the game away.
Rodgers had 283 passing yards (those numbers really do follow you around everywhere), three passing touchdowns and no interceptions. Aaron Jones was the leading rusher with 69 yards along with a score. Allen Lazard stepped up in DaVante Adams’ absence with 146 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Drew Brees had 288 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Alvin Kamara was both the leading rusher and leading receiver with 58 rushing yards and 139 receiving yards. He also caught two touchdowns.
NFC South Standings after Week 2
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1 overall record; 0-1 division record) - Next vs. Chargers
2. New Orleans Saints (1-2 overall record; 1-0 division record) - Next at Detroit
3. Carolina Panthers (1-2 overall record; 0-0 division record) - Next vs. Arizona
4. Atlanta Falcons (0-3 overall record; 0-1 division record) - Next at Green Bay