NFC South: 2011 Week 3 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Saints 40, Texans 33

September, 25, 2011

Thoughts on New Orleans’ 40-33 victory against the Houston Texans at the Superdome:

What it means: No matter what happens in the later game between Tampa Bay and Atlanta, the Saints still will have at least a share of first place in the NFC South and that’s the most important thing to come out of Sunday. This game was far from pretty for the defense, which is showing a trend of struggling against good offenses.

The streak continues: For the first time in franchise history, the Saints have started a season by scoring 30 points or more in each of their first three games.

The streak continues II: Drew Brees threw for three touchdowns. He now has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 30 consecutive games. That ties him with Dan Marino for the third-longest streak of games with a touchdown pass in NFL history.

What I didn’t like: After throwing a career-high 22 interceptions last season, Brees started this year by going through the first two games without an interception. That streak ended against Houston as Brees was picked off twice.

Unsung heroes: With top receiver Marques Colston out, the Saints continued to get good production from elsewhere. Lance Moore led the way with nine catches for 88 yards and tight end Jimmy Graham had four catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. Running back Darren Sproles added six catches and Robert Meachem had five catches, including a touchdown.

What’s next: The Saints will play at Jacksonville next week. They won’t be back in the Superdome until Oct. 23 when they host the Indianapolis Colts. After Jacksonville, the Saints have road games at Carolina and Tampa Bay.

Wrap-up: Panthers 16, Jaguars 10

September, 25, 2011
Thoughts on Carolina’s 16-10 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Bank of America Stadium.

What it means: This was the first victory of the Ron Rivera/Cam Newton era. Newton already had energized the fan base with dynamic performances in the first two games. This game wasn’t as impressive statistically, but it showed that Newton can win in this league. He led a late touchdown drive and finished it with a scoring pass to Greg Olsen to seal the victory.

What I liked: The Panthers at least attempted to run the ball. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart didn’t put up huge numbers, but they got a fair amount of carries. Part of it might have been because there was heavy rain for much of the game and that made it difficult to throw the ball. The mere fact that the Panthers were at least attempting to run kept the Jacksonville defense honest.

What else I liked: The play of linebacker James Anderson. With linebackers Jon Beason and Thomas Davis out for the season with injuries, Anderson needs to become the leader of this defense. He stepped up to the challenge and led the Panthers in tackles.

Unsung hero: Due to the injuries at linebacker, Thomas Williams got some playing time. He made a great play, batting down a Blaine Gabbert pass on the final play of the game.

What’s next: The Panthers travel to Soldier Field to play the Chicago Bears next Sunday.