NFC South Roundup, Week 3

In a new weekly series, Michael Stolp takes a look around the NFC South. Learn what went right, what went wrong, and what pressing questions must be answered by each of Carolina's division rivals.

Atlanta Falcons

What went right? The Falcons traded punches with the defending champs on the road, forcing three turnovers and running the ball when it mattered. They responded to Garrett Hartley's missed 29-yard field goal in overtime with a drive that included 10 running plays before setting up Matt Bryant for the game-winning field goal.

What went wrong? The Falcons gave up two big plays, both to Lance Moore. One of them was a 72-yard punt return that led to a Saints touchdown; the other was an 80-yard touchdown reception.

What question needs to be answered? Can the Falcons avoid a letdown when they face the 0-3 49ers at home on Sunday?

New Orleans Saints

What went right? Lance Moore had a big day. Filling in on punt returns for the injured Reggie Bush, Moore set up the Saints first touchdown of the game with a 72-yard return. He also hauled in touchdown receptions of 80 and 16 yards and finished with six receptions for 149 yards.

What went wrong? Drew Brees threw two interceptions, one of them an inexcusable heave while he was being pulled down in the second quarter. Hartley missed a 29-yard field goal in overtime, his third miss of the season.

What question needs to be answered? How much longer can the Saints keep Hartley around on the good faith garnered in the NFC Championship Game?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What went right? Rookie running back LeGarrette Blount provided a spark with six carries for 27 yards and a touchdown. He should get a few more touches this week as a result.

What went wrong? Playing in the place of the suspended Tanard Jackson, rookie free safety Cody Grimm was beaten for a 46-yard Mike Wallace touchdown reception. That set the tone for the game and the threat of the deep pass allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers to rush for 202 yards.

What pressing question needs to be answered? Can the Bucs improve enough at free safety over the bye week to be ready for Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens and the Cincinnati Bengals?

Carolina Panthers

What went right? Not much. The defense intercepted Carson Palmer twice.

What went wrong? A lot. The defense dropped four interceptions, the offense lost three fumbles and Jimmy Clausen had an interception in his pro debut. The offensive line struggled and the Panthers only gained 87 yards on the ground.

What pressing question needs to be answered? Is Clausen the answer at QB?


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