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NFC South Report: And Then There Was One

I'll be the first to admit, I really expected a lot more out of Atlanta on Sunday. It wasn't so much the fact they lost, but how they lost that really jumped off the screen. While there was a lot that went wrong, it was the offense who really struggled. Michael Turner was unable to run the ball well, and Matt Ryan never got into a rythym that allowed him to look comfortable.

On the other end of the spectrum the Saints move on, who despite an early scare managed to best the Detroit Lions in the Superdome. So without further ado, lets get to the best, worst and weirdest these two games had to offer.

The Awesome- Drew Brees

It seems Brees gets an almost weekly spot on this list, but he earns it week in, week out. Granted, some of his success may be attributed to the system Sean Payton runs, but regardless there is no QB in the NFL who runs his team's plan better than Brees. It's not just the yards, accuracy or touchdowns but the ludicrous way he's able to move the chains for the Saints. Against the Lions he averaged over 10 yards per attempt, and when a team is getting those kind of yards on every drop back it becomes impossible to do anything to stop it.

The Abysmal- Matt Ryan

Unfortunately at the other end of the spectrum we have Ryan, who was the exact opposite of Brees. While the Saints' QB was throwing for over 10 yards at attempt, Matty Ice managed a paltry 4.85 yards, which is more Jimmy Clausen than Peyton Manning. What was so frustrating is that there we plays there to be made, but he just couldn't make them. Moreover, Ryan looked frazzled in the pocket and kept getting worse as time went on.

The Asinine- Mike Smith's 4th down obsession

Former NFC South coach John Fox once infamously said "A punt is a good play", and while that is the kind of quote rife to prompt guffaws, perhaps Mike Smith could learn something from it. On three separate occasions the Falcons went for it on 4th, and on three occasions they were shut down. The Giants had Atlanta's number on 4th, but it didn't prompt any major adjustments. When it was all said and done the Falcons lost the field position battle because of it, and this in turn contributed to the loss.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.