Al Messerschmidt - Getty Images
The Panthers and Saints were on a bye this week but the Falcons and Bucs both played and improved their record.
The Falcons are now 6-0 after another 4th quarter thriller that was anything but pretty:
Winning Hideously And The Big 6-0: A Falcons-Raiders Recap - The Falcoholic
This game was a tale of two halves, but unfortunately neither half was all that spectacular. The Falcons turned in easily their worst full-game performance of the year, one punctuated by missed tackles, turnovers, poor line play and consistent fan heartburn. Against a better team, this one might have transformed into a blowout. At times, it was uglier than a buck-toothed Medusa in parachute pants.
They picked the right opponent to have a bad day. For me it would appear the Falcons are in the middle of a charmed season, getting the type of luck needed to make a deep run in the playoffs. So while I'm sure there are plenty of Falcons fans questioning the teams make-up I think the Falcoholic is keeping it in perspective:
Raiders vs. Falcons, Week 6: Atlanta must iron out kinks, but remain perfect - SBNation.com
However, some may say the Falcons did not deserve to win that game, creating some cause of concern for Falcons fans. Dave Choate of SB Nation's Atlanta Falcons blog, The Falcoholic, acknowledges the team's three fortunate wins over inferior teams, but also wants fans to recognize how far the team has come.
Nothing wrong with winning ugly in my book. The Bucs on the other left no doubt about their victory over the hapless Chiefs. They took an early lead and never looked back once the down field passing game got cranked up:
Buccaneers blow out Chiefs 38-10, deep ball reigns supreme - Bucs Nation
Josh Freeman looked more comfortable than he did in previous weeks, although he was still plagued by a few inaccurate passes early on. As the game wore on, Freeman improved and he ended the day 15/26 for 328 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. That was his fourth 300-yard game, and his 12.6 yards per attempt marked a career high.
Sounds like the Bucs offensive performance was more like the 2011 Panthers offense; a deep passing threat offense we have seen little of in 2012. The Bucs were coming off of their bye week and they obviously made the right corrections if only for one week.
10 Things We Think We Learned - Buccaneers - Chiefs - Bucs Nation
1. Credit to Coach Schiano and Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan for their self evaluation during the bye week. The Bucs identified what Freeman and the offense do best. Instead of adhering to Schiano's ground and pound mentality, the Bucs spread the field three-wide the majority of the ballgame and took shots deep. It not only led to some huge offensive plays but it helped Tampa Bay's struggling rushing attack as well.
Might the Panthers be able to do the same? Their performance was in spite of having their best CB on suspension for taking a drug similar to what I take every day (vyvanse):
Tampa Bay Buccaneers will welcome back Aqib Talib after suspension - Bucs Nation
Despite Talib's history of off-field problems, there have been consistent reports this year that Talib has truly turned a corner. In fact, he has not gotten in any kind of legal trouble since April of last year. Greg Schiano has been constantly complimentary of the way Talib has practiced and played, and there's every reason to believe that Talib is part of this team's long-term future. The four-game suspension may be a problem right now, but suspensions for performance enhancing drugs are almost never recurring, and certainly not when they're for Adderall.
I can't imagine what competitive advantage it would give you as it's a very modest stimulant, more just helps you focus in my view. But hey, if he didn't have a prescription then he should have gotten one, it's not that hard to get if you just talk to your doctor.
So that was the NFC South results for week 6. The standings as a result:
NFC South Standings
In week 7 the Panthers get back in action which we will certainly cover in depth here on CSR. The Falcons now head to a bye and the Bucs & Saints square off in a divisional throw down. I can't decide which team I want to lose more in that one.