Week 3 in the NFL was a reminder that any team can be beaten on any given Sunday. From the upset in LA to the Falcons’ first dub, let’s recap the NFC South from week three!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In what was the “Game of the Week”, the defending Super Bowl champs went down in a hard-fought 34-24 loss to the LA Rams, making them the only NFC South team to lose in week three. QB Tom Brady threw 55 times for 432 yards, but it wasn’t enough to match QB Matthew Stafford’s four touchdowns on only 38 attempts. We saw WR DeSean Jackson explode for 120 yards receiving, with the Rams receiving core exposing that banged-up Buccaneers secondary. CB Jamel Dean (knee) left the game and did not return, and it was announced on Tuesday morning that it isn’t a serious injury. That being said, he may not be available this upcoming week and, if you add that with a missing CB Sean Murphy-Bunting (elbow) and CB Carlton Davis (groin) popping up on the injury report this week, Tampa is left with a depth issue at the CB position. They recently brought in former San Francisco CB Richard Sherman for a workout, so it seems that they will address the depth and injury dilemma. For Buccaneers fans, don’t panic, these are growing pains from early-season action. Brady will still be able to throw 50+ balls and 400+ yards a game, and this is a good sign of things to come!
Next Game: TB @ NE 10/3.
*Updates: 1. These are the weeks when players who are on the IR/PUP lists will return: WR Justin Watson (knee)- Week 12; CB Sean Murphy-Bunting (elbow)- Week 6; LS Zach Triner (finger)- Week 5; LB Cam Gill (undisclosed)- Week 4; G John Molchon (leg)- Week 4; WR Scotty Miller (toe)- Week 7. 2. Here are the injury updates for the Week 4 game: a) Questionable: WR John Franklin (knee- ACL); DT Sam Renner (undisclosed); CB Carlton Davis (abdomen). b) Out: DB Jamel Dean (knee); RB Giovanni Bernard (knee- MCL); TE Rob Gronkowski (ribs); LB Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder). 3. CB Pierre Desir, CB Rashard Robinson, and TE Codey McElroy have been promoted from the practice squad for today’s game. 4. WR Antonio Brown has been activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list. 5. CB Richard Sherman has signed a one-year, $2.25M deal with the Bucs.
Arthur Smith gets his first win as head coach for the Falcons, beating the Giants in a 17-14 nail-biter. QB Matt Ryan performed well, with 243 yards and two touchdowns, but the best stat that he had was no interceptions! At this point in his career, it seems like Ryan is transitioning into more of a game manager rather than the big arm passer he was when entering the league from Boston College. Quietly, 2021 fourth overall pick TE Kyle Pitts is having a slow start to his NFL career. He has yet to record a touchdown on a thinly talented Falcons squad and, in the win over New York, only acquired THREE targets… With that being said, Smith and the Falcons have a lot they can improve on after the win to advance to 1-2. The defense of Atlanta only gave up 14 points and held RB Saquon Barkley to 51 yards on the ground, so that’s a big positive. Hopefully, this group can stand up and stand out to help the mediocre Falcons offense.
Next Game: ATL vs. WAS 10/3.
*Updates: 1. These are the weeks when players who are on the IR/PUP lists will return: T Matt Gono (undisclosed)- Week 8; G Josh Andrews (hand)- Week 4; DB Kendall Sheffield (undisclosed)- Week 4. 2. Here are the injury updates for the Week 4 game: a) Questionable: WR Jeff Badet (lower leg); P Sterling Hofrichter (undisclosed); WR J’Mon Moore (undisclosed). b) Out: WR Russell Gage (ankle); DE Marlon Davidson (ankle).
The top defense in the NFL through two weeks, the Carolina Panthers became the first team this season to reach 3-0 after taking care of business against the Houston Texans on Thursday night with a 24-9 win. The big-time injuries to RB Christian McCaffrey and CB Jaycee Horn, among other players, will be tough news for Carolina. It was evident in Week three’s game, as Texans WR Brandin Cooks caught nine passes for 112 yards on the Panthers’ defense. However, the motto for the Panthers seemed to be “bend but don’t break”, as they held Houston to nine points and only one touchdown. On the offensive side of the ball, it’s obvious that QB Sam Darnold is getting more comfortable in Charlotte, and he (literally) took another step in this matchup. He rumbled into the endzone twice with his legs and threw for 304 yards through the air. WR D.J. Moore was the beneficiary of the airmail, racking up 126 receiving yards on eight catches, while 2021 second-round pick WR Terrace Marshall Jr. contributed 48 yards on four catches. The Panthers’ offense will have a tough job this weekend against the scrappy Dallas defense.
Next Game: CAR @ DAL 10/3.
*Updates: 1. These are the weeks when players who are on the IR will return: DB Myles Hartsfield (wrist)- Week 8; C Pat Elflein (hamstring)- Week 6; CB Jaycee Horn (foot)- Week 12; DB Juston Burris (groin)- Week 7. 2. Here are the injury updates for the Week 4 game: a) Questionable: G John Miller (shoulder); DE Austin Larkin (groin); b) Doubtful: DE Yetur Gross-Matos (ankle); c) Out: RB Christian McCaffrey (hamstring). 3. They promoted S Kenny Robinson and RB Rodney Smith from the practice squad for today’s game. 4. They signed DB Madre Harper to the practice squad and promoted C Sam Tecklenburg from the practice squad on September 28th. 5. They signed G Mike Horton to the practice squad on September 27th.
New Orleans Saints
In the Saints’ impressive win against HC Bill Belichick and the Patriots, we saw a more balanced offense. RB Alvin Kamara didn’t quite break the 100-yard mark but ran for 89 yards and, more importantly, had 24 carries. This allows for less pressure and turnovers on QB Jameis Winston, who threw two touchdowns (one while being hit) and no interceptions. QB Taysom Hill was even featured on six carries in the 28-13 win. Unfortunately, the Saints’ best OT, Terron Armstead, left in the first quarter and is expected to miss several weeks with a left elbow injury. Three turnovers for the New Orleans defense may have been the key to the win in this one, as not only Mac Jones but all rookie QBs had a tough Week 3. The secondary looked much better this week, as recently paid CB Marshon Lattimore led the team in total tackles (10) and snagged one pick against the New England rookie. S Malcolm Jenkins also had an interception that he returned for a touchdown, while CB P.J. Williams had the third pick of the day.
Next Game: NO vs. NYG 10/3.
*Updates: 1. These are the weeks when players who are either on the IR, the PUP list, or are suspended will return: DT David Onyemata (suspension)- Week 8; K Wil Lutz (abdomen)- Week 5; TE Nick Vannett (knee)- Week 4; WR Tre’Quan Smith (hamstring)- Week 4; CB Ken Crawley (hamstring)- Week 4; MLB Kwon Alexander (elbow)- Week 5; DE Marcus Davenport (shoulder)- Week 5; LB Chase Hansen (groin)- Week 5; WR Michael Thomas (ankle)- Week 7. 2. Here are the injury updates for the Week 4 game: a) Questionable: CB Keith Washington (wrist); LB Quentin Poling (undisclosed); K Brett Maher (groin). b) Out: C Erik McCoy (calf); T Terron Armstead (elbow). 3. They promoted C Will Clapp, T Jordan Mills, and WR Kenny Stills from the practice squad for today’s game. 4. They signed DB Ka’dar Hollman and T Jordan Mills to the practice squad on September 28th.
Edited By: Rupayan “Abs” Samanta.