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Around the NFC South: Week Two

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The Buccaneers picked up another big win on Sunday and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC South. What else went down in the division during week two?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers continued to benefit from Fitzmagic on Sunday, beating the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles by a score of 27-21 at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay is now 2-0 for the first time since 2010 and sits in sole possession of first place in the NFC South. Let’s get around to what else went down in the division during week two.

Atlanta Falcons (1-1)

The Falcons bounced back from their disappointing week one loss by beating the division rival Panthers 31-24 on Sunday. In its home opener, Atlanta used a 17-0 mid-game run to get some separation from Carolina. As soon as the Panthers got back within one score early in the fourth quarter, the Falcons came back to take a two-possession lead. The defense allowed a touchdown with 2:20 to go, but eventually held on for the victory.

Atlanta got a much better performance out of Matt Ryan this week. He completed 23 of his 28 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 18 yards and two scores. Tevin Coleman ran for 107 yards on 16 carries, filling in nicely for the injured Devonta Freeman.

Up Next: vs. New Orleans Saints (1-1)

Carolina Panthers (1-1)

The Panthers led the Falcons on the road 10-3 early in the second quarter, but once they lost that lead, they never came back. Graham Gano connected on a 54-yard field goal to take an early 3-0 lead before Cam Newton and Jarius Wright linked up for a five-yard touchdown to take a 10-3 lead. From there, Atlanta went on a run to take a two-score lead. Newton later hit Torrey Smith and DJ Moore for touchdowns, but the Panthers couldn’t overcome the deficit.

Newton had a big day, throwing for 335 yards and three touchdowns on 32-of-45 passing. He also ran for 42 yards on five carries. Christian McCaffrey didn’t get much going on the ground, but caught 14 passes for 102 yards. Devin Funchess caught seven passes for 77 yards, but it was Wright, Smith and Moore who found the end zone.

Up Next: vs. Cincinnati Bengals (2-0)

New Orleans Saints (1-1)

After their shootout loss to the Bucs last week, the Saints struggle their way to a 21-18 win over the Browns in week two. Still at home in the Superdome, New Orleans was sluggish for much of the day. Cleveland led 12-3 after three quarters, but Drew Brees and his offense came back in the fourth. Two touchdown passes from Brees to Michael Thomas, plus a two-point conversion run by Alvin Kamara, got the Saints out to an 18-12 lead. Things almost went heavily downhill from there, as Tyrod Taylor found Antonio Callaway for a 47-yard touchdown on fourth down with 1:16 to go. The Browns had tied the game and were an extra point away from a late lead, but the kick was no good. After that, New Orleans marched down the field and set Will Lutz up for a 44-yard game-winning field goal.

Despite the slow start, Brees was his normal self. He completed 28 of his 35 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas was once again his main target, catching 12 passes for 89 yards and two scores. It was a rare off day for Kamara, who ran for just 46 yards and caught just six passes for 53 yards. It wasn’t a terrible day, but it wasn’t what everyone is accustomed to from him. Kicking ultimately made the difference, as the Saints took advantage of two missed field goals and two missed extra points by Cleveland kicker Zane Gonzalez.

Up Next: at Atlanta Falcons (1-1)