The Buccaneers fell to 3-7 following a 34-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints, dropping the Bucs to last place in the NFC South. The story of this one? The Saints pass rush making the Bucs’ protection look like amateur hour.
The Bucs’ offensive line isn’t great to begin with, but Jameis Winston was under duress every snap, every drop back, and it showed. Winston finished with 313 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions on 51 pass attempts. He was hit twelve times, sacked twice, and had to rely on dump offs for more of the day.
Drew Brees and Michael Thomas did exactly what you would of expected from them. Brees went 28/35 for 228 yards and three touchdowns while not turning the ball over or being sacked. Thomas with another stellar performance finished with eight receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown.
Winston injured his ankle late in the game while being tackled, adding to an already rough day and performance from him. Winston was certainly the focus of fans’ frustrations following another turnover-riddled game, calling into question the team’s abilities with him under center for the future.
Mike Evans wasn’t held without a reception this time around but he still struggled against the Saints. Evans would finish with four receptions for 69 yards, but had a crucial third down drop early on as well as a highly questionable offensive pass interference call on a 4th-and-1 play where he caught a first down pass. At the time, the Bucs were down 27-17 and in a position to get right back into the game. Instead, they were forced to punt and never bounced back.
Following an inexcusable bobble-turned-interception by O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate became a stand out performer in this one. Brate finished as the team’s leading receiver with ten receptions for 73 yards on fourteen targets. Rookie Scotty Miller finished with four receptions for 71 yards and came just one yards shy of his first NFL touchdown.
Plenty more questions and no real answers emerge after this one. 3-7 is not what many envisioned for the Bucs after hiring Bruce Arians as they are all but eliminated from postseason contention and have serious question marks at quarterback, offensive line, and the secondary.
Plain and simple - this roster isn’t as talented as Arians may have believed when he took this job.