The 23-point win, which came as a result of a 29-6 second-half run, put Tampa Bay at 7-3 through 10 games and kept it within one-half game of the division lead. Things weren’t as smooth as the Bucs would have liked early on, but the second half saw the offense explode and the defense return to form, with promising signs on both sides of the ball. Now, the team has a tough couple of games ahead as it will host the Rams and Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium just six days apart, with the first coming next Monday night.
Before we cross over into Week 11 (already???) of the NFL season, it’s time to check in on the rest of the NFC South to see how Tampa Bay’s divisional foes fared this past weekend.
New Orleans Saints (7-2)
Week 10 for the Saints was a mixed bag, as they beat the 49ers 27-13 at the Superdome but lost Drew Brees to injury in the process. San Francisco took an early 10-0 lead and looked to be in control of the game, but New Orleans bounced back with 17 straight points to end the half. Both touchdowns came courtesy of Alvin Kamara, with the second putting the Saints on top for the first time in the game. But coming out of halftime, Brees remained on the sideline while former Buccaneer Jameis Winston got in the ball game. Winston wasn’t all that impressive and the New Orleans offense didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard, but it didn’t need to. The defense carried the lead home to keep the Saints on top of the NFC South heading into Week 11. The 49ers outgained them 281-237, but four turnovers to New Orleans’ two ultimately made the difference.
Before departing, Brees was 8-of-13 for 76 yards and a touchdown, with that score going to Kamara. It was really Kamara’s game, as the dynamic running back totaled three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) while putting up 98 total yards on 15 total touches. He was the Saints’ leading receiver, with the No. 2 being Michael Thomas, who only had 27 yards on two catches. Winston wasn’t overly impressive in relief of Brees, but he wasn’t asked to do much. He was 6-of-10 for 63 yards in the game, though coming out of the game turnover-free was a win. The New Orleans defense was what really won the game, as it forced four turnovers while totaling two sacks, 11 tackles for loss, nine passes defended and eight quarterback hits. The defense, along with Winston and Taysom Hill, will now be tasked with keeping the team afloat without Brees, who will miss time due to fractured ribs and a collapsed lung.
Up Next: vs. Atlanta Falcons (3-6)
Atlanta Falcons (3-6)
After winning three of their previous four games, the Falcons were off this week. With the Panthers losing, Atlanta is still third in the NFC South.
Up Next: at New Orleans Saints (7-2)
Carolina Panthers (3-7)
The Panthers hung around with the Bucs early on in Sunday’s game at Bank of America Stadium, heading into halftime with the game tied at 17. But a disastrous second-half performance led to a 46-23 loss that kept them at the bottom of the division through 10 weeks of the season. Things did look good for Carolina in the first quarter, with Teddy Bridgewater completing his first 12 passes and throwing for two touchdowns to help the home team grab a 14-7 lead. But from there, Tampa Bay came back. A touchdown catch by Mike Evans with 27 seconds left in the first half tied the game, then the Bucs went on a 29-6 run in the second half to bury the Panthers. This marked the first time Carolina had been swept by Tampa Bay in a season series since 2016.
After his strong start, Bridgewater had a pretty pedestrian day. He completed 18 of his 24 passes on the afternoon, but he only threw for 136 yards, those two early touchdowns and an interception. He had to leave the game late due to an apparent knee injury, adding to the Panthers’ woes. DJ Moore was the team’s leading receiver, catching four passes for 96 yards and a touchdown, but Christian McCaffrey was sorely missed. Mike Davis didn’t have much of anything to show for his day in place of the All-Pro, as he ran for 32 yards on just seven carries while catching four passes for only 12 yards. After a nice start, Matt Rhule’s team was thoroughly dominated, getting outgained 544-187 in the game. Third-down conversions were also a big difference-maker, as the Panthers went 1-of-9 while the Bucs finished 10-of-16.
Up Next: vs. Detroit Lions (4-5)