What it means: They say that water seeks its own level and the Gulf of Mexico got back to its normal balance Sunday as the “slumping’’ Saints looked like champions again and the “red-hot’’ Buccaneers no longer looked like the surprise team of the season. With Atlanta losing to Philadelphia, the Saints and Falcons each are 4-2 and the Buccaneers are 3-2, but you can see the NFC South probably will be a two-team race.
Hero: Chris Ivory. The undrafted rookie running back carried 15 times for 158 yards. With Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush out with injuries, the Saints haven’t had much of a running game. But Ivory gave them threat against the Buccaneers and can help bridge the gap until Bush and Thomas come back.
Goats: Tampa Bay’s run defense. This was a huge problem for the Bucs last year and part of the reason why they used their first two picks on defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. They give the Bucs more talent on the interior than they had last year, but they remain a work in progress. No NFL defense should be giving up 158 rushing yards to Ivory.
What’s next: The Buccaneers stay home to face St. Louis in a game that more than likely will be blacked out on Tampa Bay television. The Saints go home for two games. They have Cleveland coming to town next Sunday and Pittsburgh on Oct. 31.