The New Orleans Saints were the only victorious NFC South team on Sunday which gives them the sole lead in the division with a 4-1 record. The Saints managed to beat the Carolina Panthers on a late TD in a close game, but in the other two NFC South match-ups it wasn't quite as close. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were blown out by the San Francisco 49ers (spoiler: they're probably appearing in our abysmal) and the Falcons were beaten soundly by Green Bay despite starting the game so well.
So wont you join me as we look at we look at the awesome, the abysmal and the asinine from Sunday's game.
The Awesome- Jimmy Graham
While Saints head coach Sean Payton may be waaay too premature in saying Graham has 'hall of fame potential' it's undeniable the tight end has skill. Graham embarrassed the Carolina Panthers secondary as he finished the game with 8 receptions for 129 yards. He is now on pace for over 1,100 receiving yards on the season, and while that's not enough to get his bust in Canton, it shows that not only is the NFC South the home of some of the best QBs in the NFL, but also the best tight ends.
If you need a better idea of why Graham was so good yesterday look no further than this highlight in which he managed an absolute circus catch after having the ball knocked loose by the DB.
The Abysmal- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When you get blown out by the 49ers 48-3 where else do you think you'll end up? Can someone tell me what's happened to Josh Freeman? Following 2010 the sophomore QB looked ready to take hold of a place as one of the top QBs in the NFL, but thus far in 2011 he's been anything but. His two INT performance on Sunday now puts Freeman at an unenviable 6 INTs to only 3 TDs, while posting a QB rating of 74.1- he's just a different looking player this season.
One would think with Freeman struggling the Bucs could rely on RB LeGarrette Blount... well, no dice. Blount managed just 34 yards on 10 carries and couldn't help stop the bleeding on a day when San Francisco wanted to prove a point by scoring two 4th quarter TDs on the beleaguered Bucs.
The Asinine- Ron Rivera's time out call
Seems like the Panthers have made a home in our asisine section, and that's because they keep finding ways to lose game close. On Sunday this was no exception as Ron Rivera completely goofed and called an unnecessary time out to end the half. You just have to see it to believe it.
First of all, serious props to Jimmy Graham who not only Sean Payton thinks could be in Canton, but who has a future in acting... just look at that epic futbol flop! But the joke was on the Panthers head coach for his time out. There was no reason to call it, New Orleans were out of time outs, and that late field goal ended up being the different as the Saints won by three. That hurts, and it was asinine.