With the Bucs and Falcons having their byes this week we only have two teams to look at in our NFC South report, but that doesn't mean we don't have more than enough opportunities to find our awesome, abysmal and asinine in the losses both the Saints and Panthers experienced.
The Awesome- Cam Newton
While Newton's 2011 season has been nothing short of remarkable his game on Sunday could have been his best as a pro. Completing over 60% of his passes and throwing three touchdowns he added 290 yards passing without and interceptions in Carolina's three point loss to Minnesota.
The Panthers are still several pieces away from from putting it all together, but they have enough flashes that it's clear to see the ability of Carolina in the future. It's easy to forget Newton is still a rookie because his statistics have had him among the NFL elite, rather than just leading his rookie class. At at this point it would be a travesty if he doesn't run away with the rookie of the year award.
The Abysmal- New Orleans' defense
Facing a winless St. Louis Rams team the Saints should have absolutely abused the A.J. Feeley led team, but the result was anything but. The backup QB managed the game well, and Steven Jackson ran roughshod over the Saints defense as the Rams amassed over 320 yards of total offense in a 10 pt win over the Saints.
A special mention needs to go out to aforementioned Jackson who ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns. This is the perfect example of just how abysmal the Saints defense was on Sunday as they tried to stack the box to stop the run and still managed to get dominated by a beleaguered Rams team.
The Asinine- Olindo Mare
With under a minute to play the Carolina Panthers just needed a 31 yard chip shot to send their game into overtime. Long standing NFL veteran Olindo Mare took to the field to knock though a certain field goal and give the young team one last chance to put the Vikings away. He stood tall, the snap came through fine and then he promptly shanked the kick wide left and the Panthers lost.
For a team who has been the bridesmaid on numerous occasions in 2011 the power of back to back wins would have given a young Carolina team a huge boost, but alas it wasn't to be with Mare. What further exacerbates the issue is that Mare was a free agent signing for the Panthers in 2011 as they parted ways with long standing kicker John Kasay prior to the season. It doesn't get much more asinine than missing an easy kick and costing your team a chance to win.