Tampa Bay Survives Surging Browns

Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Cleveland Browns 26-23 in overtime at Raymond James Stadium. Kicker Chandler Cantanzaro nailed the game-winning field goal with 1:55 remaining in overtime and lifted the Buccaneers to 3-3.

“I think it’s part of my DNA. I’ve always kind of found of way to bounce back,” the Tampa Bay kicker said Sunday after his 59-yard field goal. “I rarely miss two in a row. Even if it’s from 59, I was just looking for a shot. If it was from 66, I would have tried it.”

​Catanzaro’s 59-yarder is the longest game-winning field goal in overtime since the regular-season overtime rule was instituted in 1974, surpassing the previous record of 57 yards set by Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski (October 19, 2008 vs. the New York Jets).

At least one game has gone to overtime in each of the first seven weeks of the 2018 season, marking the first time that a season has featured at least one overtime game in each of its first seven weeks.

No. 1 overall draft pick Baker Mayfield was 23 of 34 for 215 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions. Tampa Bay Quarterback Jameis Winston was 32 of 52 passes for 365 yards and no touchdowns. He was sacked four times, threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner also led the Bucs in rushing with 55 yards on 10 attempts.

Carolina Stuns Eagles

Carolina came from 17 points down in the fourth quarter to stun the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles 21-17 at Lincoln Financial Field. This game proved to be a heavyweight fight that was wholly dominated by the Eagles through the first three quarters. However, Westlake’s own Cam Newton put the Panthers on his shoulders led them to their biggest fourth quarter comeback win in team history.

​Carolina wide receiver Curtis Samuel rushed for a touchdown with 10:41 remaining in the 4th quarter. That touchdown capped an eleven play, 80 yard drive. The score was 17-6 as the extra point failed. On the Panthers’ next drive, Newton utilized the no-huddle offense to perfection. Newton went 5 for 5 and hooked up with wide receiver Devin Funchess on a 17 yard touchdown strike. The two point conversion attempt was successful and the Panthers were down 17-14 with 2:44 remaining in the game.

On the Eagles’ next drive, they went three-and-out, setting up a spectacular finish Rocky Marciano would be proud of. Newton took Carolina down the field in ten plays and fifty-five seconds, finding tight end Greg Olsen for a 1 yard touchdown, completing the comeback.

Reid and Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins exchanged words and were separated before the coin toss. The two men have history going back to last year when Reid left The Players Coalition, which was co-founded by Jenkins. Reid and Jenkins are both fighting for the same cause — social and racial injustice — but have disagreed over how to do it. Reid recently called the coalition “an NFL funded subversion group” and he strongly supports his friend, Colin Kaepernick.

Tucker’s Miss Seals Saints Victory

Justin Tucker missed the first conversion of his career after the Baltimore Ravens scored the potential tying touchdown with 24 seconds left in response to a strong fourth quarter by Drew Brees, and the New Orleans Saints escaped with a 24-23 victory Sunday.

Brees threw two touchdown passes, locked up two more milestones and engineered a comeback that enabled the Saints (5-1) to wipe out a 10-point deficit.

It was 24-17 before Joe Flacco directed a beat-the-clock drive covering 81 yards and ending with a 14-yard touchdown pass to John Brown.

That seemingly set up overtime, given that Tucker had connected on 112 straight extra points and was the only NFL kicker without a miss since the placement of the ball was moved back in 2015. He made the first 222 tries of his career.

This attempt, however, went wide right — the deciding moment in a matchup between the NFL’s highest-scoring offense and top-ranked defense.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees completed 22 of 30 passes (73.3 percent) for 212 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 114.9 rating in the Saints’ 24-23 victory at Baltimore. Brees, who has 501 career touchdown passes, became the fourth player in NFL history with at least 500 career touchdown passes, joining Peyton Manning (539), Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (508) and Tom Brady (504).

With Sunday’s win against the Ravens, Brees joins Manning and Favre as the only quarterbacks to defeat all 32 current NFL teams.

Week Eight features the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3) as they travel to face the Cincinnati Bengals (4-2). The Carolina Panthers (4-2) host the Baltimore Ravens (4-3) at Bank of America Stadium in Uptown Charlotte. The division leader New Orleans Saints (5-1) travel to Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Vikings (4-2-1). The Atlanta Falcons are on bye during Week Eight.

Portions of this week’s NFC South Briefs are by the Associated Press. Statistical and historical data are provided by NFL Media.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, October 14, 2018 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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