It seems as the 2015 NFL season progresses, the Carolina Panthers prove that they deserve the respect that an undefeated team should receive. As they keep winning, the rest of the NFC South appears to be dropping into mediocrity or worse.
Once again it was quarterback Cam Newton who led the Carolina Panthers to another win keeping them undefeated.
Newton completed his first 11 passes, the longest consecutive pass completion run of his career, and the Panthers D shut out the Tennessee Titans in the second half to extend their wins for 2015 to nine.
As is the case in every game, Newton scored with his feet and with his arm. He rushed for one score and passed for another.
As Newton collected 21 completions on 26 attempts for 217 yards and another 25 yards running, the Panthers’ D allowed the Titans only 11 first downs, permitted only five of 12 third down conversions, and ended the game on a forced fumble.
Panthers’ running back Jonathan Stewart rushed for 91 yards on 22 carries and scored a touchdown on a 16-yard run in the first quarter. Tight end Greg Olsen caught eight passes for 80 yards.
The Titans were somewhat successful applying pressure on Newton having sacked him once in the first half and three times in a row in the third quarter.
Titans’ rookie QB Marcus Mariota completed 16 passes on 24 attempts for 185 yards and an interception. PANTHERS 27 TITANS 10
When the New Orleans Saints tied the Washington Redskins at 14 in the first half, it appeared that they were once again involved in another shoot out like the ones that led to victories over the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. But that was not to be the case. The Redskins defense was able to keep the Saints’ offense from scoring again.
After the initial kickoff as well as a penalty, the Redskins offense started their first series on their own 4-yard line. The running game, which had been missing for the last few weeks, finally started to gain chucks of yards with each run by starting running back Alfred Morris and rookie back Matt Jones. However, the big play of the first drive was a 42-yard bomb from Redskins’ QB Kirk Cousins to wide receiver DeSean Jackson. The play set up a 16-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Redskins tight end Jordan Reed. The 96-yard drive was the team’s longest in 15 years –- that being a 98-yard drive against the New York Giants in December 2000.
However, the Redskins defense couldn’t stop the Saints’ runners. On the Saints first series after the Redskins’ score running back Mark Ingram broke off a 70 yard run to the Washington 5 yard line and later Brees hit Brandin Cooks with a 4-yard pass for the score.
A mix of short runs by Morris and Jones and passes to Jordan Reed and Jones ultimately led to an 11-yard scoring pass from Cousins to Jamison Crowder for the Redskins’ second score.
The Saints tied the game at 14 on a three-play drive that ended with a 60-yard touchdown pass from Brees to Cooks.
It appeared that the shoot out was on. However, those were the last points the Saints scored for the rest of the game.
The Redskins also scored on a 35-yard pick six by safety Dashon Goldson and on a catch and run of 78-yards by Jones on a screen pass in the second quarter.
Cousins finished with 20 completions on 25 attempts for 324 yards and 4 touchdowns and a perfect quarterback passer rating of 158.3. He was sacked three times. Brees completed 19 of 28 passes for 209 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked twice.
Morris rushed for 92 yards on 15 carries and Jones gained 56 yards on 11 carries and also contributed three receptions for 131 yards and a score. Chris Thompson also rushed for 54 yards on two carries. The ‘Skins offense totaled 537 yards (213 rushing and 324 receiving). The Saints offense collected 367 yards (158 rushing and 209 receiving). As a result of the poor showing by the Saints defense, Rob Ryan, defensive coordinator was fired. REDSKINS 47 SAINTS 14
He threw two interceptions and appeared to have fumbled the ball on the goal line. However, the referee flagged the opposing team’s defense for holding thus negating the play. That gave Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback Jameis Winston the opportunity to beat the Dallas Cowboys with his feet as he scored the winning touchdown with less than a minute remaining on a 1-yard rush.
Winston faked a handoff to Bucs’ running back Doug Martin and circled right end into the end zone on the play. It was Winston’s fourth rushing TD of the season.
Then it appeared that the Cowboys would score. Quarterback Matt Cassel, who was playing for injured Tony Romo, engineered a drive to the Tampa Bay 44 yard line after the ensuing kickoff. However, he threw an interception on a pass intended for Dez Bryant.
Winston completed 22 passes on 39 attempts for 264 yards including a 17-yard pass to Brandon Myers that set the Buccaneers up for the winning score. Bucs’ receiver Mike Evans caught eight passes for 126 yards and Doug Martin rushed for 63 yards on 18 carries and also contributed 40 yards on four receptions.
Cassel had 19 completions on 29 attempts for 186 yards and an interception. The Bucs’ held the Cowboys to only 42 yards rushing with Darren McFadden gaining 32 yards on 17 carries. Bryant caught five passes for 45 yards and Jason Witten caught five for 42 yards.
It was the Cowboys’ seventh straight loss after beginning 2-0 before starting quarterback Tony Romo was injured. The losing streak is the team’s worse since 1989. BUCCANEERS 10 COWBOYS 6.
While the Bucs, Saints, and Panthers were in competition, the Atlanta Falcons experienced their bye.
NFC SOUTH STANDINGS Overall Division
CAROLINA PANTHERS 9-0 2-0
ATLANTA FALCONS 6-3 0-2
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 4-5 2-1
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 4-6 1-2
NFC SOUTH SCHEDULE
COLTS @ FALCONS SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2015
BUCCANEERS @ EAGLES SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2015
REDSKINS @ PANTHERS SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2015
Courtesy of Sportsonearth.com