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Look around the NFC South; Panthers get a jolt of life

The NFC South race is starting to tighten up

Carolina Panthers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

There was only one fanbase in the NFC South happy with their team’s performance this past weekend, and that was the Carolina Panthers. The New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Atlanta Falcons all went home with defeats and all rather disappointingly at that. We’ve detailed the Saints and their game with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday from just about every angle on this site. Here is a look at how the rest of the NFC South fared.

Atlanta Falcons v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Cowboys 43 Falcons 3

This game was pretty much over before it started as Dallas scored on their opening possession and pretty much on every other one in the first half en route to a commanding 36-3 halftime lead. Dallas dominated the game in just about every statistical way and the Falcons couldn’t seem to get out of their own way by committing 3 turnovers and going just 1-11 on 3rd down. Matt Ryan was especially woeful completing just 9 passes for 117 yards and 2 interceptions. He was pulled late in the 3rd quarter and backup quarterback Josh Rosen immediately came in and threw an interception himself. The Falcons defense was hapless against the Cowboys offensive attack as they surrendered 3 straight 2nd quarter touchdown drives that all but milked this one away. The loss ended the Falcons momentum after a big win at New Orleans and now they look to regroup as they take on the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Washington Football Team Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Washington 29 Tampa Bay 19

This game ended up similarly to the last game did for the Buccaneers, with Brady being turnover prone and the Buccaneers leaving with a loss. Brady threw 2 picks in this one and the Bucs defense gave up a back breaking 19 play, 10 minute drive touchdown in the 4th that allowed the Washington Football Team to come away with the victory. The Bucs were once again without the services of Rob Gronkowski (back) and Antonio Brown (foot) and the offense never quite got into gear as this was just the 2nd time all season the Bucs were held under 20 points. Part of that was the time of possession where Washington was nearly double the time Tampa had the ball as the Bucs only ran 47 plays on the day. Lack of having the ball and lack of a running game (only 53 yards rushing) saw the Bucs throw the ball more and was the reasoning behind the 2 picks from Brady. Tampa will look to end their 2 game slide as they take on the Giants on Monday Night Football.

Carolina Panthers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Panthers 34 Cardinals 10

Sequels are usually never as good as the original, but Cam Newton is looking to change that in his 2nd stint with that Panthers. If Sunday is any indication then this sequel may live up to the hype. The first 2 times Cam touched the ball resulted in a touchdown for the Panthers as they routed the Arizona Cardinals 34-10. Cam gracefully strolled in the end zone on Carolina’s first possession and yelled, “I’m Back” to indicate his return back to the Panthers. The team seemed to feed off his instant energy as the ran up a 17-0 first quarter lead and never looked back. The Cardinals were again playing without starting quarterback Kyler Murray and they could not muster up much against the Panthers stingy defense. The Panthers held the Cardinals to just 169 yards of total offense on the afternoon and held them to just 4 of 13 on 3rd down conversions. The return of “Superman” gave the Panthers a much needed energizing as they look to keep pace in the NFC South. They will take on the Washington Football Team on Sunday with Cam Newton expected to start at quarterback.