The Saints fall in the home opener 20-10 against the Bucs. Brady still didn’t do much. The refs were terrible, Winston played with a broken back and the Saints offense gave this game away. Let break down the loss quarter by quarter.
The Saints offense started this game well, there was much more rhythm and rushed the ball really well with Ingram. Peat was a pulling guard monster on the opening drive.
The Saints showed a different look with Taysom Hill at QB, wasn’t the conventional QB power. Looked to have a pass option out wide to Deonte Harty, with the option if Taysom didn’t like the pass, to run, he did and ran for a good gain.
The drive stalled and ended in a 31-yard field, disappointing to not get a TD, but it was promising to see the Saints offense have some rhythm, on the ground at least.
Brady and the Bucs started in the worst way possible for them, another Brady turnover against the Saints. Brady fumbled a 4th and 1 snap that was recovered by Demario Davis on the Saints 26. The Saints had a huge chance to put a stamp on the game here, with any points, especially a TD.
Unfortunately, the drive stalled the Saints were on the right side of an unnecessary roughness penalty after the Bucs blitz got home on 3rd down, which kept the drive alive. Before finally, a Taysom Hill run didn’t work, forcing a Saints punt.
An unusual poor punt from Gillikin, he had a real chance to pin the Bucs deep. Instead, the Bucs started with the ball at their own 23.
Tampa started the 2nd quarter with a 3rd and 6 after a Fournette run and Incomplete pass ended the first quarter.
Tampa dialled up an excellent play to get Evans matched up in the slot against Justin Evans. Evans ran a kind of wheel route from the slot and the Saints defender got caught up in a rub, designed to get Evans clear. It was a really well drawn up play, with the Bucs now in business after the 41-yard completion.
The Bucs were now up to the Saints 30, then the 17 after an excellent run up the middle by Fournette, which turned out to be Fournette’s longest of the game (13 yards).
4th and 1 on the Saints 9-yard line concluded this drive, with Kentavius Street somehow getting into the backfield unblocked and disrupting the run. Leading to Carl Granderson standing tall and stopping Fournette for a loss. Allowing the Saints to take over inside their own 10, with again a chance for the offense to take the bull by the horns.
They didn’t and the offense went 3 and out quickly. This was a ‘what could have been’ drive. Winston looked to have Olave deep down the right sideline. Winston overthrow him on third down ending the drive there.
Getting no yards, also meant the Saints were losing the field position battle (a trend that continued for much of the game). Especially with Gillikin not on top form, the Bucs started again with good field position at the 50. They couldn’t take advantage gaining 1 yard on 3 plays. Mainly because of Pete Werner, Werner had another great game. He was excellent against the run all game and made at least 2 really good plays in pass coverage one on this drive and had a PBU on the Bucs first drive of the game. He has quickly become a key piece to the Saints defense.
Neither offense could do anything to end the half. There were signs on both Saints drives that Winston’s back was limiting him more than we were being told. He had a chance twice to scramble on third down, on he had a real chance to get the first both times but chose to keep his eyes downfield which nearly cost them. As he was stripped from behind on one of the plays, luckily James Hurst fell on it.
The Saints opted not to kick a 57-yard field goal with 28 seconds left and instead punted back to the Bucs. I understand the thought process at the time, up 3 and a miss would have given the Bucs good field position to try and end the half with some points. I think Allen needed to show some aggression here and trust Lutz. Points were at a premium in this game.
Brady Knelt, after the punt to end the half.
Bucs started with the ball in the second half and didn’t do much again. They could get anything going on the ground and it wasn’t much better through the air. You could see Brady getting more and more frustrated with what the Saints were doing in coverage, so much so, Brady broke another tablet on the sideline.
Unfortunately, the Saints offense still couldn’t respond with more failed deep shots to Olave forcing an immediate three and out. What’s most frustrating about these attempts is it looked like Olave had a step on the defender most times, the play was there to be made. Winston just could connect.
Gillikin had another poor punt giving the Bucs another short field to work with. This was a huge factor in this game the Bucs were regularly starting past their 30-yard line, this was very rarely the case for the Saints.
Finally, the Saints defense caved just enough. Brady and the Bucs had finally broken the drought against the Saints and scored their first point in 7 quarters.
After a very nice rub route concept again got Breshad Perriman open to keep the Bucs offense alive on a third down and long. The Bucs only gained 28-yards on this drive but again because of their field position that was enough to get them into FG range.
Next is where it all started to unravel for the Saints. The offense found rhythm that we hadn’t seen since the very first drive of the game, great runs by Ingram and Dwayne Washington. With some nice completions mixed in from Jameis leading the team all the way down to the Redzone. Until a very nice 9-yard run by Ingram was capped with a killer game-changing fumble. A textbook punch out caused the fumble and, in a game, where any points were like gold dust for the Saints to not punch in a great drive, turned into a huge momentum changer.
The Saints defense came up with another 3rd and short stuff to force a 4th and 1 on the Bucs 19-yard line. When a severely unusual mistake by the Saints special teams kept the drive going, a 12 men on the field penalty, gave Brady another crack.
As was the way Brady still couldn’t move the ball, after a deep attempt to Mike Evans was well covered by Marshon Lattimore as it had been all day. Lattimore had been dominating the matchup again in this one and Brady was frustrated, he marched down the field demanding a flag from the refs and exchanged words with Lattimore.
It was at this point all hell broke loose. Fournette push Lattimore, Lattimore pushed back, nothing unusual nothing to major. Then from the sideline, encouraged by the ‘retired’ former Bucs HC Bruce Arians who for some reason was on the Bucs sideline. Mike Evans came bursting onto the field and flattened Lattimore from Behind. A significant scrum ensued, causing the eyes in the sky in New York, to eject Lattimore and Evans.
This, in my opinion was a joke, Evans came from the sideline and escalated the whole thing with an unnecessary hit on Lattimore, he and he alone should have been thrown out, with Lattimore and Fournette receiving 15-yard penalties.
This decision from the people who are supposed to be removed from the situation, so they can review footage to get these calls right. As per usual got it wrong, which caused major effects on the game. See the video below and make up your own mind.
This was where the implosion happened, Winston tried Olave again deep and underthrow him (another sign of the back causing an issue) and was intercepted. Winston went on to be intercepted on the next 2 Saints drives after that. Both were bad throws one was a bad miss to TE Juwan Johnson; the other Winston did not see the Robber (S Mike Edwards) and throw a pick 6. The coverage looked very similar to what the Saints used last season on P.J. Williams’ pick 6 on Brady.
Sprinkle in a Brady touchdown drive in-between aided by some poorly officiated penalties against the Saints and P.J. Williams being in primary coverage for the touchdown when Lattimore would have been if he didn’t get thrown out. That was the end of the contest for the Saints.
The offense did find rhythm to get one TD on the board with nice passes to Mike Thomas and Juwan Johnson and a PI call on another deep shot to Olave, but it was all too little too late.
The final very cruel dagger was, finally, a deep shot to Olave worked for 51-yard gain. It could have given the Saints a small window to come back, but the receiver was judged to have fumbled the ball, as he had not been touched down after completing the catch and then fumbling.
From one angle the broadcast showed it looked like Olave’s foot was touched on the way down, therefore meaning the ruling should have been a 51-yard completion. It was hard to tell though.
The Saints should have won this game, the defense stifled Brady again and the Bucs could do nothing in the run game.
But the offense couldn’t capitalise on the fortunate cards they were dealt, it felt like 13 points would have won this game, I really think the defense could have protected that. Ultimately the offense turned it over 5 times and that isn’t going to beat anyone. Let alone the Goat.
I think the offense will get there, the talk all off-season has been that as OC Pete Carmichael has called plays before, so he will be fine. Well, let’s not forget he had Drew Brees when he called plays before, Brees was effectively an OC on the field who could decide how he wanted to play. I think Pete is still trying to figure his offensive identity with no Brees and no Payton.
Brady made enough plays when needed and the Bucs defense, came up big down the stretch.
Finally note on this game, the officials were horrific, not just calls against the Saints but a couple of the call against the Bucs earlier in the game were awful too. The NFL needs to fix its officiating crisis because too much of their incompetence is having an impact on the results of games.
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