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Saturday, September 19, 2009

NFC South Week 1 Rec By Rafael Garcia Sr. Contributing Writer Football Reporters Online S.E. Region

                                             NFC South Week 1 Recap
By Rafael Garcia
Sr. Contributing Writer Football Reporters Online
Southeast Region
This is a division that finds itself with a few good teams. The New Orleans Saints look to get that swagger back and take it to a division title. The Atlanta Falcons want to repeat and the Carolina Panther and Tampa Bay Bucs want to have a say too. So 2009 starts off and the race is on to the finish line.
New Orleans 45 Detroit 27
Well so much for easing your offense into the start of the season. Saints quarterback Drew Brees had another plan when he threw and threw the ball into the end zone. When it was all said and done he was 26-34 for 358 yards and six touchdowns. It was an air assault like none we have seen in some time. Still at the end of the game all Brees could talk about were the passes that could have been caught. Thinking about the mistakes that his team made like giving up 27 points to the Lions with a rookie quarterback. As for Brees he completed passes to eight different receivers, five of them caught a touchdown. Jeremy Shockey finally got his first two scores as a Saint so now that burden is off of him. Running back Mike Bell had his best day as a pro rushing for 143 on 28 carries. He even got a standing ovation when he left the game in the fourth from the appreciative crowd. The defense was not the only issue they will take up this week, Reggie Bush fumbled twice losing one and Bell also lost one too. All in all it was a fantastic offensive game for New Orleans and they cannot miss a step as they face the Eagles in Philly next week. Detroit rookie quarterback Matt Stafford made his NFL debut going 16 of 37 for 205 yards and three interceptions. Safety Darren Sharper got two of those for the Saints and linebacker Scott Shanie the other. He was forced into many throws to avoid getting sacked or because he had no one to throw to. The lions made there share of mistakes that coming from a losing environment. It will take time but Stafford has the tools to succeed in this league.
Atlanta 19 Miami 7
This was a meeting between two teams that had a surprising season last year. The Falcons were coming off the Michael Vick drama and selected Matt Ryan as their franchise quarterback. The Dolphins were a year removed from a 1-15 season and went 11-5 and won the AFC East. The Falcons defense was a bit in question as they lost five starters from a year ago. Their preseason showing did not do much in the way of confidence. With that in mind they came in and got four turnovers and flat out put the stop on the Dolphins offense. They allowed only 176 yards passing to Chad Pennington even though he was 21 for 29 passing. Miami running back Ronnie Brown was held to 43 yards and Ricky Williams managed just 39. They tried a new form of the Wildcat with rookie Pat White and he failed twice. Once was no gain on a run attempt and the other was an overthrown ball to Ted Guinn Jr. after he had beaten coverage. The Falcons got the most of several players, TE Tony Gonzalez caught 20-yard touchdown pass that made him the 21st player in history to 11,000 yards receiving. Linebacker Mike Peterson picked off a Pennington pass and set up the touchdown by Gonzalez. Another star was first year Falcon Brian Williams who was just signed. He picked up a loose ball and ran it 53 yards to set up a filed goal. So much help for the Falcons, but they will need that kind of play from their defense if they have a hope to challenge for the division.
Dallas 34 Tampa Bay 21
The Raheem Morris era began in Tampa and things did not go as planned. They had Cadillac Williams in the backfield again after undergoing two knee surgeries. He had a good game with 97 yards on just 13 carries and his back mate Derrick Ward added 62 on 12 carries. Unfortunately the Bucs had to turn to the passing game as the Cowboy QB Tony Romo and his number on receiver Roy Williams put on a show. Romo went 16 of 27 for 353 yards and three touchdowns. Williams had three catches for 86 yards and Patrick Crayton caught four for 135 yards. Tampa stayed in it for a while on the strength of quarterback Byron Leftwich who was awarded the starting job this year. He shined going 25-41 for 276 yards and one touchdown. He was very impressive in the fourth quarter as he led his team on an 11 play 84-yard drive that ended with Ward’s one yard score. The Bucs defense allowed nearly 500 yards of offense to the Cowboys and will have to go to Buffalo next week to face Lee Evans and Terrell Owens. They will have to make adjustments quick to avoid going 0-2 to start the year. 
Philadelphia 38 Carolina 10
When we last saw Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme he was busy throwing five picks and committed a fumble in last year’s embarrassment against the Arizona Cardinals. He put that nightmare behind him and proceeded with a fresh 2009. Well he picked up right where he left off by throwing four more picks while going 7-17 for a mere 73 yards. This is not what the Panthers were looking for in their quarterback. He is the big question mark on this team and if he does not get back to performing on a high level the Panthers will have to make a decision. For now he is the starter but for how long remains to be seen. His two game total for turnovers is at 11 dating back to that playoff game. The Carolina offense was miserable all day and continued when Josh McCown came in to replace Delhomme. He later left with injuries to his foot and knee. Third stringer Matt Moore came in and threw an interception of his own and the Panthers tied a team record with seven turnovers. It was no day at the office for the defense either as the Eagles blew the game open with a 28 point second quarter. They scored on a fumble return, an 85-yard punt return, two touchdown passes and a field goal. Talk about scoring in many ways. For the Eagles Donovan McNabb got injured on a 15-yard touchdown run when he broke a rib. His status is up in the air for next week and if he can’t go backup Kevin Kolb is ready for now. The Panthers now find themselves in troubled early. Running back DeAngelo Williams could not get off either getting just 37 yards on the ground and 11 of those came on a run for the first score of the game.  So now its back to the drawing board for the Panthers and the must get on the same page quick or this season will be lost quickly. For Delhomme keeps the job and coach John Fox will make the decision based on the next few performances. Lets hope for the team Delhomme gets is right soon


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