NFC South Week 2 review: Saints, Falcons both blow big leads

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The Falcons did it again this week. On Sunday, they held a 19-point lead over the Cowboys in the second half, only to completely fall apart late in the fourth quarter and cough up a loss. They weren’t the only team in the NFC South who blew a big lead, though.

Here’s a review of what happened around the division in Week 2.

Falcons (0-2) lost to Cowboys (1-1), 40-39

To give you an idea of just how epic this collapse was, Atlanta’s win probability was even higher against Dallas than when they held a 28-3 lead against the Patriots in the Super Bowl. While the Cowboys are a more talented team, the way this went down was a devastating blow. The failure to fall on the onside kick is a a result of bad coaching, plain and simple. It’s frankly confusing that Dan Quinn has hung around as long as he has. Just imagine where the Falcons would be if they’d promoted Kyle Shanahan.

Saints (1-1) lost to Raiders (2-0), 34-24

At least Atlanta has the excuse that they were playing a better team. New Orleans led Las Vegas 10-0 on Monday night, leading to a now-deleted frontrunner tweet from the injured Michael Thomas, who said it might get ugly fast. It did, just not in the way he thought. For the second straight week, Drew Brees played like the 41-year old he is. They also got practically nothing from Emmanuel Sanders, who dropped his first target and never really recovered. Alvin Kamara wound up having to carry the offense and it just wasn’t enough. On the other side of the ball, New Orleans gave up three passing touchdowns to Derek Carr and had no answer for tight end Darren Waller (12 catches, 103 yards, one touchdown).

Buccaneers (1-1) beat Panthers (0-2), 31-17

While Brees is definitely showing his age, the 43-year old Tom Brady bounced back this week with a vintage performance. If not for a gruesome series of drops from his receivers, he would have finished with 400+ yards and three touchdowns. This game showed just how important Chris Godwin is for the Bucs. He’s expected to return Week 3 after clearing the concussion protocol. Defensively, Tampa’s lethal front-seven dominated Carolina, sacking Teddy Bridgewater five times and posting 9.5 tackles for a loss.

Panthers (0-2) need some help

As challenging as things look going into Week 3, it’s important to keep some perspective. The Panthers were underdogs against the Raiders and Buccaneers and they had a legitimate chance to win both times despite some significant miscues in the passing game. Once Bridgewater shakes off the rust and develops a rhythm with anyone aside from Robby Anderson, this team is going to be much more competitive than we have seen so far. That said, on defense, fans should expect the tough times and “learning opportunities” to continue. The early Pro Football Focus grades for this unit are about as awful as imaginable.

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