clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
NFL: NOV 23 Rams at Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NFC South Roundup Week 11: Buccaneers’ division title hopes fading away

With another loss and a Saints win, the Bucs saw their NFC South title hopes take a big hit in Week 11.

The Buccaneers’ inconsistency—and their struggles in primetime action—continued in Week 11 as they lost 27-24 to the Rams on Monday Night Football.

It wasn’t a good performance for Tampa Bay, with the offense looking disjointed and ineffective while the defense had its issues with Jared Goff, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. And with the game still coming down to the wire anyway, it was perhaps fitting that former Buc Matt Gay was the one to connect on the game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter. Because of course.

The Bucs don’t have a ton of time to dwell on the Monday night loss, as they have the 9-1 Chiefs coming into town this Sunday. It’s a big game for Tampa Bay, as a loss would drop its record to a disappointing 7-5 heading into the Week 13 bye.

But before we get to Week 12, it’s time to check in on the rest of the NFC South and see how the other three teams fared in Week 11. Let’s get it going, shall we?

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints (8-2)

Sunday was the Saints’ first game without Drew Brees leading the way as the veteran deals with his cracked ribs and collapsed lung. And to the surprise of many, it was Taysom Hill—not Jameis Winston—getting the start in his place. It worked out, with New Orleans making easy work of the Falcons, winning 24-9 inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It wasn’t a pretty first half for Hill and the offense, but the defense kept a dangerous Atlanta offense in check all afternoon long. The Saints allowed just three field goals in the first half, which allowed Alvin Kamara’s touchdown run with 1:46 left in the second quarter to give the team a 10-9 halftime lead. Hill ran for two touchdowns in the second half while the defense pitched a shutout, sending New Orleans to 8-2 on the year. With their win and the Bucs’ loss, they now lead the NFC South by 1.5 games. They also hold the tiebreaker over Tampa Bay, thanks to their season sweep.

Hill was effective in Brees’ place, completing 18 of his 23 passes for 233 yards. He got it done more on the ground, though, rushing 10 times for 49 yards and two touchdowns. Michael Thomas was Hill’s go-to guy, bringing in nine passes for 104 yards. But the New Orleans defense was the real story, as it held the Falcons to nine points and 248 yards while forcing two turnovers. Marcus Williams and Janoris Jenkins both came up with interceptions, while Cameron Jordan totaled three sacks. As a team, the Saints posted eight sacks, 11 quarterback hits and 10 passes defended. Trey Hendrickson and David Onyemata both tallied two sacks of their own, while Demario Davis brought the team’s sack total to eight.

Up Next: at Denver Broncos (4-6)

NFL: Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers (4-7)

The Panthers, even without Teddy Bridgewater, cruised to a 20-0 home victory over the Lions on Sunday afternoon. Mike Davis ran for a first-quarter touchdown to give Carolina a 7-0 lead, and it carried that lead into halftime. A P.J. Walker touchdown pass to Curtis Samuel then extended the lead to 14-0 in the third quarter before Joey Slye connected on two field goals to make it a 20-point game. Defensively, the Panthers stifled the Lions, allowing just 185 total yards and 10 first downs while forcing a turnover. Time of possession was key for Matt Rhule’s team, as it held the ball for 36:48 to Detroit’s 23:12. With the victory, Carolina jumped Atlanta and took third place in the NFC South.

Walker, one of the faces of the XFL this past spring, started in place of an injured Bridgewater and did enough to get the victory. He completed 24 of his 34 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown, though he did throw two interceptions. Much of his success came when throwing to DJ Moore, who caught seven passes for 127 yards. Samuel brought in eight passes for 70 yards and a score, while Davis ran for 64 yards and a touchdown. The Panther defense was impressive, keeping Matthew Stafford in check all game long. Brian Burns picked up two sacks, while Zach Kerr (one sack), Efe Obada (1.5) and Yetur Gross-Matos (0.5) all got to the quarterback as well. Detroit managed just 40 rushing yards in the game, contributing to its disadvantage in the time of possession category.

Up Next: at Minnesota Vikings (4-6)

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons (3-7)

The Falcons were unable to take advantage of Drew Brees being sidelined, losing 24-9 to the Saints on Sunday afternoon. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offense never got going, managing just nine first-half points before getting nothing in the second half. The defense was able to keep things afloat in the first two quarters, at least, allowing the visitors to head into halftime down by just one. But two Taysom Hill rushing touchdowns in the second half put the game out of reach for Raheem Morris’ team, which put up just 248 yards of total offense in the game. With the loss, Atlanta dropped to 3-7 and fell into the NFC South’s bottom spot.

Ryan was ineffective in New Orleans, completing 19 of his 37 passes for 232 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked eight times and hit 11 times, getting harassed constantly by the Saints. There was simply no finding a rhythm for the veteran, and it didn’t help that the Falcons couldn’t get much done on the ground. They put up only 52 rushing yards on 14 attempts, with Todd Gurley leading the way with eight carries for 26 yards. The Atlanta defense did what it could early on, but it needed to be nearly perfect to compensate for the offense’s horrid day. Younghoe Koo was pretty much the only standout for the Falcons, making field goals from 28, 51 and 52 yards out in the loss.

Up Next: vs. Las Vegas Raiders (6-4)

Today's NFL News

Evans ‘day-to-day’ as Buccaneers still waiting on prognosis for Jensen

Today's NFL News

Chris Godwin hits the field while Mike Evans leaves it after hamstring injury

Bucs Nation Podcast: Buccaneers begin transition to replacing Jensen