By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8
Things got shaken up in the NFC South this weekend. The Carolina Panthers are winless while the other three teams are tied up in the standings at 1-1.
The most startling news is the thumb injury to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Early reports indicate 6-8 weeks of recovery but if it really is “Gamekeepers Thumb,” he may be out all season.
Are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Atlanta Falcons poised to take over the division? Let’s see what happened to them this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20 – Carolina Panthers 14
In a dramatic ending that could well define the final division standings, the Buccaneers defense stopped QB Cam Newton at the 2-yard line on his 4th-and-1 attempt to win the game. So far, the Bucs defense has been surprisingly good which really helps since QB Jameis Winston hasn’t quite gotten in his groove yet.
In a game that I thought would be a Battle of the Running Backs, Panther Christian McCaffrey finished with just 16 attempts for just 37 yards. Check that against Bucs RB Peyton Barber who had a stellar game with 23 attempts, 82 yards and a touchdown.
While it’s very early in the season, starting 0-2 cannot sit well with Panther fans. Newton is going to have his work cut out for him to turn things around.
Week 3 Matchups: Tampa Bay hosts the NY Giants (0-2) and Carolina travels to Arizona to face the Cardinals (0-1-1). Both games are at 4:05 EST.
Peyton Barber goes 16 yards up the gut and puts the Bucs ahead.
— BetAmerica (@BetAmerica) September 13, 2019
Atlanta Falcons 24 – Philadelphia Eagles 20
Consistency was the key to this victory for the Falcons. The offense put up points in every quarter while the defense kept the Eagles out of the end zone until the end of the game. Going into the 4th quarter, the Falcons led 17-12. An early score with 2-point conversion put the Eagles up 20-17 so it was up to QB Matt Ryan to get back on top.
After hitting WRs Calvin Ridley and Nelson Agholor earlier for touchdowns, it wasn’t surprising when Ryan found WR Julio Jones for the game-winning score. Ryan finished with 320 throwing yards, 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Eagles QB Carson Wentz didn’t have a great night – in fact QB Josh McCown (fresh out of retirement and the announcers booth) was in for a series – and Wentz finished with only 231 yards in the air and 3 interceptions of his own.
Hats off to both defenses for the take-aways, especially cornerback Desmond Trufant of the Falcons with two on his own.
Week 3 matchup: Falcons travel to Indianapolis to face the 1-1 Colts and QB Jacoby Brissett for a 1:00pm EST Sunday game.
Wentz out here throwing an INT to a DB that was sitting LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
What a play by Trufant pic.twitter.com/f4KFgngEJv
— #BOOMIN (@ftbeard_17) September 16, 2019
Los Angeles Rams 27 – New Orleans Saints 9
Amidst fans complaining about another bad call by the officials, all that we can really say about this game is the QB Drew Brees may be done for the season. Oh, I know, they are saying 6-8 weeks right now, but I know someone who had the same injury but didn’t need surgery and it took years for the grip to get back to normal.
Does backup QB Teddy Bridgewater have what it takes to lead this team while Brees is out? Well, when the injury happened, I wasn’t worried. Then Bridgewater took the field. Meh. I was not impressed. He was 17/30 for 165 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions…. final QB Rating of 72.2. When you play guys like QB Jared Goff who finished 19/28 for 283 yards and a QB Rating of 112.6, you either need to step up your game, or your defense needs to be better.
Week 3 matchup: Saints travel to the pacific northwest to face the Seattle Seahawks (2-0) Sunday at 4:25pm EST.
The #Saints made Teddy Bridgewater the highest-paid backup in the NFL, as he chose NO over Miami. That looms large now. Sean Payton has confidence that Bridgewater can keep them alive for however long Drew Brees is out. And for Brees, at least it’s not season-ending.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 16, 2019
Talk NFC South with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8