NFC South: 2011 Week 10 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Titans 30, Panthers 3

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
7:50
PM ET
Thoughts on the Carolina Panthers’ 30-3 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium:

What it means: A few weeks ago, when the Panthers defeated the Washington Redskins, it looked like this young team had a great opportunity to turn the corner. Home games with the Vikings and Titans were coming up and they looked winnable. Instead, the Panthers lost them both. They’re 2-7 and the early hope that rookie quarterback Cam Newton brought is fading a bit. Earlier in the season, it looked like the Carolina offense could score against anyone. But the Panthers couldn’t even get into the end zone against the Titans.

Slump busters: There will be a lot of stories about how Tennessee running back Chris Johnson snapped out of a season-long funk as he rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown. I wouldn’t go declaring that Johnson’s slump is over. I’d make the case that he was simply going up a defense that can’t stop the run.

Nobody’s coming to the rescue: Perhaps the most discouraging thing about the rest of the Carolina’s season is that it’s highly unlikely the defense is going to show any signs of improvement. Season-ending injuries to linebackers Jon Beason and Thomas Davis and defensive tackle Ron Edwards were beyond devastating. The Panthers simply didn’t have much depth behind him. The defensive problems can’t be fixed until next year, when some of the injured players return and the Panthers have a full offseason to reload their defense.

This is never a good sign: Legedu Naanee led the Panthers with eight catches for 75 yards. Naanee’s not a threat. Steve Smith, who is a huge threat, was held to five catches for 33 yards. He’s been outstanding all season, but Smith didn’t have a catch go for more than 15 yards on Sunday.

What’s next: The Panthers travel to Detroit next Sunday to play the Lions at Ford Field.

Wrap-up: Texans 37, Buccaneers 9

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
7:34
PM ET
Thoughts on Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 37-9 loss to the Houston Texas on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium:

What it means: The Buccaneers have been searching for an identity all season. Looks like they finally found it. They are a mediocre team with problems in a lot of places on offense and defense. They’re 4-5 and have to face the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers next. Coach Raheem Morris has been saying all year that his team’s goal is to win the NFC South. That’s probably not going to happen, unless the Bucs suddenly get dramatically better and the Saints stumble.

Same old story: Tampa Bay’s offense started off the way it has pretty much all season -- very slowly. The Bucs didn’t score their first points until Connor Barth hit a field goal just before halftime. They didn’t score their touchdown until the fourth quarter. Maybe the Bucs should take a lesson from former coach Sam Wyche. Back in the mid-1990s, the Bucs were starting poorly after halftime. So Wyche actually had his team practice its halftime routine. Maybe the current Tampa Bay offense should practice starting a game.

Albert’s Army: The Bucs picked up defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth during the week because injuries had left them thin in the middle of the defensive line. Haynesworth was fairly active, making four tackles. But the problems on Tampa Bay’s defense go way deeper than the middle of the defensive line. Matt Schaub only had to attempt 15 passes, but he threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns and the Texans had no problem running the ball.

Insult to injury: Derrick Ward, the same guy who was a free-agent bust with the Bucs, ran for a touchdown against his former team.

What’s next: The Bucs travel to Green Bay to play the Packers next Sunday.

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