The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have finished the 2013 season with a blowout loss. The New Orleans Saints trampled all over the Tampa Bay defense, which seemed to be as powerless as it has been all season long. The defensive effort was pathetic, while the offense had arguably its best game in about a month. Fittingly, they set a team record for penalty yardage in a season in what will likely be the final game of Greg Schiano's tenure.
Both the Saints and Bucs got off to a fast start, producing long touchdowns on their respective opening drives. A beautifully executed flea flicker completely fooled the Saints defense, allowing Glennon to find Tiquan Underwood for an easy touchdown. Drew Brees did it one better, though: he was perfect on the Saints' first two drives, giving them an effortless two touchdowns in the first quarter.
Predictably, the Buccaneers couldn't keep up that pace -- but they did stay competitive through at least the first half. Brian Leonard ran all over the Saints defense on one drive, while Mike Glennon completed an okay 13 of 22 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Unfortunately, a decent two-minute drill went to waste because of the most ridiculous fake field goal I've ever had the displeasure of witnessing.
Unfortunately, the Bucs defense couldn't hold up its end of the bargain. Keith Tandy, who was starting for an injured Mark Barron, looked especially bad as Drew Brees managed a perfect passer rating in the first half and seemed to move the ball at will, with a little help from his friend "blown coverage" on a 76-yard Kenny Stills touchdown. Brees completed 17 of 21 passes for 321 yards and four touchdowns in the first half.
The second half then saw the Bucs collapse, as per usual this season. 28-14 at the end of the first half turned into 42-17 by the start of the fourth quarter. The defense couldn't stop anyone, while the offense was now failing to produce as well -- as illustrated by an ugly interception on what looked to be a bit of miscommunication between Mike Glennon and Vincent Jackson. Drew Brees would finish the game completing 24 of 31 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns, and he'd add a fifth touchdown on the ground.
This loss coupled with the Raiders' loss guarantees the Bucs the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, likely too low to find a top quarterback but high enough to find an impact player. More important for the team's future will be what the Glazers decide to do with Greg Schiano and company. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have to make some tough decisions on their coaching staff and front office. We're almost certain to see some changes on the staff, but it's not clear whether Greg Schiano will stay or not. He may be fired tomorrow, but that decision could be delayed -- or Schiano could even return, god forbid.