Drew Brees shredded the league’s top-ranked defense, throwing for 220 yards and three touchdowns as the New Orleans Saints defeated the previously unbeaten Carolina Panthers 34-13 on Sunday.
It’s still wide receiver John Brown, who’s still out because of a quad injury. When will he return? It’s anybody’s guess, but coach Bruce Arians didn’t sound optimistic it would be this week when Arizona faces the Cowboys on Monday night. Arians was asked if he was more encouraged about the possibility of Brown playing this week. His response: No, not really. I have to see him run before I can get encouraged. An injury report won’t come out until Thursday because of the longer week. — Josh Weinfuss
Two key members of the Bucs’ defense didn’t practice Wednesday. Five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy missed it because of an ankle injury and middle linebacker and captain Kwon Alexander has a hamstring injury. Alexander left last Sunday’s game because of the injury and was replaced by rookie Kendell Beckwith, who did an admirable job but is still inexperienced.
Replacing McCoy is much, much harder. He’s the motor on defense. Alexander said after the game Sunday that he’d be fine, but given how fickle hamstring injuries can be, that’s no guarantee he’ll play this week. Ankle injuries can also be particularly tough for defensive linemen. If he can’t go, Clinton McDonald could slide over and play three-technique. — Jenna Laine