NFC South links: Bucs make strides, fall short

Posted by ESPN.com staff

Atlanta Falcons

Randy Johnson, Atlanta's first quarterback in 1966, lived a troubled life off the gridiron, passing away Sept. 16 alone in a tiny, dirty home.

NBC11 hosted a live chat with Gerald Riggs and Sam Crenshaw looking ahead after the Falcons' bye week. Find the replay here.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers have an opportunity to right the ship with the next three games against the Redskins, Bucs and Bills.

Tight end Dante Rosario is one of the lone bright spots for the Panthers -- and the only receiver to catch a touchdown pass for Carolina this season.

The Panthers need to get back to basics and start running the ball better. Last year, Carolina ranked sixth in the league with 31.5 rushing attempts per game. This year, it's down to 23.7, which ranks 27th.

New Orleans Saints

Saints safety Darren Sharper's interception against the Jets further enhanced the résumé of the NFL's active leader in career interceptions and one of the "top 10 thieves in league history."

Despite an off day from quarterback Drew Brees, the Jets' defense was unable to contain the New Orleans offense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs coach Raheem Morris is being forced to defend his questionable call at the end of the Redskins game.

The Bucs did make some strides, especially on defense, but it wasn't enough.