Atlanta Falcons lead diminishes in NFC South

Atlanta Falcons lead diminishes in NFC South

The Kansas City Chiefs at the Carolina Panthers

A late Panthers turnover led the Kansas City Chiefs to a 20-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Quarterback Cam Newton Newton continued his impressive season, rolling through records for pass completions and rushing touchdowns on Sunday. Newton threw 261 yards and a completed a touchdown pass, as well as running for 54 yards and a personal touchdown for his company.

The Panthers spent the entire game up 17 points until the tide turned late in the third quarter and momentum shifted toward the Chiefs. Newton got sacked for a total 12-yard loss at the Kansas City 28, yard line which forced the Panthers to have to punt the ball rather than taking a three touchdown lead.

The scoreless possession which ended in a punt was actually a 20-drive play which took ten minutes off the game clock. With 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the two teams were tied with 17 a piece, but Chiefs defensive back  Marcus Peters stripped Kelvin Benjamin and put kicker Cairo Santos in range for a game-winner. Sure enough, Santos kicked a 37-yard field goal just as time ran out, and the Chiefs miraculously overcame a 17-point deficit to top the Carolina Panthers, setting their record back to 3-6 on the season and securing 4th place in the AFC South.

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Atlanta Falcons at the Philadelphia Eagles

Heading into their bye week, the Atlanta Falcons are lucky their (6-4) first place lead in the NFC South is so extensive, because their lost an ugly one to the Philadelphia Eagles, 15-24. Offensively, the Falcons probably played their worst game all season. Quarterback Matt Ryan launched some ill-advised rockets, including the winning interception to Leodis McKelvin. The Falcons poor offensive showing, including penalties and turnovers allowed the Eagles to hog the ball for 38:10 minutes of possession.

The Falcons defense was also at a loss during the Eagles game, having allowed 429 yards against a pretty average offense.

The Falcons’ defense even responded to their poor performance in post-game remarks with safety Keanu Neal commenting: “Couple times, the guards pulled me, and I was supposed to set the edge. I’ll definitely take responsibility for that. They did a great job. Running backs ran hard and offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. We didn’t have a response.”

Atlanta’s defense allowed Ryan Matthews plenty of space to run, who had largely been unsuccessful until this game. One thing Falcons fans can be grateful for is the bye this week, giving their squad time to revisit the drawing board.

The Denver Broncos at the New Orleans Saints

On Sunday, the New Orleans Saints lost to the reigning Super Bowl champions in a thrilling ending. While Drew Brees and his offensive company get most of the airwaves, this game was all about defense. New Orleans held Denver to 337 total yards and impressively held Bronco’s quarterback Trevor Siemian to a limited performance.

Going into this game, the Saints only had 11 sacks for the entirety of the year, which was tied for 30th for all of the National Football League.

However, signs are looking up for the Saints after Sunday’s game, as they managed to sack Siemian six times. So things are looking up for Saints fans defensively. The problem is that the Saints losses are still by such small margins that many of these losses could have been wins, including Sunday’s controversial game.

With the game tied at 23 with 1:22 left on the clock, Wil Lutz’ extra point was blocked and Broncos’ Will Parks returned it for a two-point play, sending the Bronco’s home with a 25-23 win.

The problem for Saints fans is Parks stepped out of bounds on his way to the end zone, but this received no call from the officiating crew.

With multi-millions invested in technology for these games, including instant replay, Saints fans are left with one conclusion — this loss was due to an officiating error. The New Orleans Saints travel to Bank of America Stadium to take on the Carolina Panthers this week.

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