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Saints thrash Bucs, 38-3

It was a bloodbath.

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady threw three interceptions on Sunday night.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3) went into Sunday Night Football with the hopes of taking down the rival New Orleans Saints (6-2).

Well, things didn’t go the Bucs’ way. To say the least. Tom Brady was sacked three times and threw three interceptions while the defense was carved like a Thanksgiving turkey in one of the worst losses in recent memory.

The Bucs went three-and-out on their first drive, but unfortunately for Tampa Bay, New Orleans had a lot more success on its first drive.

The Saints put together a nine-play, 65-yard drive led by Drew Brees, who completed 5-of-6 passes for 45 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was a beautiful throw to Tre’Quan Smith, who was wide open in the back of the end zone thanks to a busted coverage. Will Lutz drilled the PAT and the Saints led, 7-0, with 9:34 left in the first quarter.

The Bucs thought they had a manageable situation when Ronald Jones II ran for eight yards on 2nd and 10, but a holding call on Donovan Smith put the Bucs in a 2nd and 20, which subsequently forced them into another three-and-out.

Brees immediately answered, finding Deonte Harris over the middle of the field for a 40-yard reception. Harris was able to break several tackles and took the ball down to the TB26 in the blink of an eye.

Tampa Bay was able to force the Saints into a 4th and 1 just a few plays later, but the Saints decided to go for it and appeared to convert off the fullback sneak. Bruce Arians disagreed, however, and threw the red challenge flag in protest. It didn’t work. The ruling was upheld and Tampa Bay was charged with its first timeout of the first half.

But the Bucs caught a break on the next play. Brees found tight end Jared Cook inside the Bucs’ five-yard line, but a great hustle play from Jordan Whitehead knocked the ball out of Cook’s hands. Lavonte David recovered the ball and the Bucs were able to prevent/avoid a sure scoring opportunity for the Saints.

The only issue was the Bucs would begin their drive at their own 2. Could a stagnant offense churn out a couple of first downs for some breathing room, at least?

Well, that didn’t happen. The Bucs went three-and-out for the third time in first quarter and had to punt the ball away. At this point, the Bucs had more punts (3) than they did first downs (0) and there were just a couple minutes left in the first quarter.

The Saints took back over at the TB43 and Alvin Kamara later busted off a 17-yard run down to the TB18. Brees found tight end Adam Trautman up the seam a few plays later for his second touchdown pass of the game —it was also the ninth different receiver that Brees hit— to end the first quarter and put the Saints up, 14-0.

And guess what happened on the Bucs’ next drive?

If you guessed a three-and-out, you’re today’s winner!

The Bucs were able to get the Saints into a 2nd and 16, but Brees found Taysom Hill for a 21-yard reception that moved the ball into Tampa Bay territory. Hill busted off a 23-yard run on the next play and then Brees found Emmanuel Sanders for a 12-yard touchdown not too long after that. The Saints now led, 21-0, with 11:44 left in the second quarter.

At this point, New Orleans had 214 total net yards compared to Tampa Bay’s 25. The Saints were 2-of-3 on third down compared to the Bucs’ 0-for-4 mark. Brees was absolutely on fire, as well, completing 14-of-16 passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns.

The Bucs finally broke through and were able to get their first first down of the night thanks to a Tyler Johnson reception. But things quickly fell apart when Marcus Davenport tipped a Brady pass that landed into the arms of David Onyemata. New Orleans would take over at the TB34, looking to extend its lead by at least three points.

It didn’t take long for the Saints to score another touchdown. Kamara capped off the five-play, 27-yard drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown to put the Saints up, 28-0, with 8:45 left in the first half.

The Bucs were finally able to get some momentum going on offense, but faced a 4th and 6 from the NO38 and decided to go for it. Rob Gronkowski was able to get separation down the field, but Brady overthrew him and the Bucs had to settle for zero points.

The Saints were able to get a field goal out of the next drive to push the lead to 31-0. The Bucs tried to put some points on the board before halftime, but Brady threw another interception. This time it was picked off by Marcus Williams. The Saints would go on and kneel out the clock to close the first half.

New Orleans received the ball after halftime, but couldn’t do anything with the ball as Shaquil Barrett came through and strip-sacked Brees. Mike Edwards picked up the loose ball and ran it all the way down to the NO21.

All of a sudden, the Bucs had a small bit of life.

Said life was quickly vanquished, however, as Tampa Bay squandered its golden opportunity. The Bucs drove all the way down to the NO1, but Gronkowski dropped a touchdown on third down and Marshon Lattimore blanketed Mike Evans on the Bucs’ fourth down attempt.

The good news was that the Saints would start with the ball at their own one-yard line. Could the Bucs get a stop and get the ball back with good field position?

The answer was a rather emphatic “no” as the Saints were able to march to the 31-yard line before punting the ball back to the Bucs. Tampa Bay was able to drive the ball down the field, but back-to-back sacks by Trey Hendrickson led to a 4th and 7 that ended in Brady’s third interception of the night.

The Saints scored another touchdown in the fourth quarter and the Bucs managed a field goal afterward.

New Orleans would go on to win, 38-3. The Bucs are now 6-3 on the season and will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina next week to take on the Carolina Panthers.