Good morning NFC South fans. We had one change in the division standings this week with the Carolina Panthers moving up to 3rd after beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home. As it stands the Bucs are reeling and have completely dropped out of contention in the division after starting extremely strong. The Saints are still the class of the division with their seemingly unstoppable offense and a defense that looks as opportunistic as it was during their Superbowl year; but enough about what is happening, and let's look back to yesterday at what did happen.
The Awesome- Cam Newton
The 2011 season has had some ups and downs for Cam Newton, but yesterday against Tampa Bay he was very much on a high. Newton finished the game completing over 50% of his passes, throwing for over 200 yards, throwing for a TD and running in another three touchdowns. His game in itself was awesome, but he also achieved something worthy of Canton on Sunday.
When Newton ran in his third TD of the day in the 4th quarter he scored his 13th rushing touchdown of the season- this broke Steve Grogan's record of rushing TDs by a QB in a season, a record that has lasted over 30 years. Time will tell whether Cam can live up to the breakneck pace he's started with, but yesterday he was awesome.
The Abysmal- Atlanta's stalling offense
It's far too easy to pin it all on QB Matt Ryan, but yesterday the entire Falcons' offense caused them to lose to the Houston Texans despite the defense allowing only 175 total yards. Two drives resulted in interceptions, three 3-and-outs... the list goes on. It was an almost comical affair in a game Atlanta should have controlled with Houston rookie T.J. Yates under center.
Thankfully for the Falcons other teams vying for a wild card spot also lost critical games so they remain very much in the hunt, but it was truly abysmal yesterday.
The Asinine- The Price is Wrong
Bad puns aside, it takes a special kind of player to get himself sent home in the middle of the game by a head coach, but this is what Bucs DT Brian Price experienced on Sunday. Following a costly personal foul penalty on third down, Buc's head coach Raheem Morris was livid
"Yes, I sent him to the locker room. I told him go home. $%&# yeah. Because it's foolish, it's selfish to your teammates, to everybody in your organization, to your fans. That's terrible. That's just selfish behavior to get a 15-yard penalty, in that situation, when that's all we talk about, when that's all we discuss. You just can't do that to your team... When you give up a penalty, after a third-and-15, those are things that are not smart, not fair to anybody on the football team. Not fair to anybody that's coaching that football team. Those things are unacceptable."
Could it be late season posturing by a coach on the hot seat? Perhaps, but maybe Morris was onto something by sending home his DT. After all, rookie Cam Newton might as well have sent them all home as he cut through the Bucs defense like a knife through butter on Sunday.