Bruce Arians, Todd Bowles, and Byron Leftwich should be going into work today just a tad bit disgusted. I was reading and watching videos on Twitter how some analysts couldn’t even stomach to rewatch the game.
By the way, that’s the FOX 13 weatherman! I guess he’s a realist.
After all the hard work this team has put in to be where it needs to be halfway through the season, they should have outperformed instead of underperformed. Simply put, they got out gunned, out manned, out numbered, out planned (Hamilton reference if you didn’t catch on).
Evan Winter said it perfectly, Sean Peyton owns the Bucs. They’ve had their number since the first matchup of the 2018 season, which was the last time the Bucs beat the Saints (48-40). The Saints own the series by 16 games, 37-21.
As I stated on the Bucs Nation podcast instant reactions, I’m not sure what they were doing all week. Did they get distracted by the Antonio Brown media hype? Was it the Tropical Storm Eta preparations? Was it the election stress, or all the above?
If we hit the rewind button, think back to the ugly win against a struggling Giants team. Yes, the G-men played their best ball but it almost seemed like the Bucs weren’t playing the right game plan. Instead, there were many that thought that the players and coaches were already looking ahead to week 9. That was definitely proved to not be the case on Sunday night.
This game plan should be scrapped completely. There’s no reason to dwell on it, nor try to analyze what went wrong. Just scrap it like it never happened and move on. Chalk it up as a loss against a very good Saints team, and get ready for week 10 against a very winnable contest against the Carolina Panthers.
The biggest disappointment was on defense. This was arguably the best defense in the league through 9 weeks. The Bucs defense ended with -1 fantasy points on the night. Most fantasy owners understand the relevance of that as it take a lot to go negative for a team defense.
The secondary played soft coverage. Scratch that, they had zero coverage! I keep recalling that 3rd down conversion pass to Jared Cook in the first series. Then there was the blown coverage when Tre’Quan Smith leaned slightly out of the end zone for an easy touchdown catch. It was practically in slow motion.
It was almost like Pete Carmichael and Sean Payton were reading right out of Todd Bowles playbook and they knew every move he was going to make.
I’m not a coach, nor was I ever a professional player, but I’ll keep criticizing the secondary until we see it get better. I’m shocked why they don’t play tighter man-to-man ball if the matchup is right. Especially when you have to play Drew Bree with Emmanuel Sanders and Michael Thomas twice a year.
There was zero blitzes in the first half. That’s Bowles’ signature to his defense. How do you not implement what you’re known for? Just seemed really strange to not see as much aggressiveness as we’ve seen in previous weeks with the amount of talent they have. Also goes to show just how much Vita Vea is missed as well.
One of biggest takeaway was watching Tom Brady in between possessions on the sideline. He wasn’t ticked off, he wasn’t yelling or motivating his guys, he was quietly reviewing the plays on his surface and contemplating the next set of downs. We witnessed the complete opposite in week 1 and in week 5 losses. Something just seemed really off by his demeanor.
This tweet was too funny not to share.
I’m not going to remain negative though. I think there’s optimism in all of this. We’ve now seen that AB can stay in his place, play his role, and execute when his number is called. Mike Evans was wide open too many times. Watch the tape and you’ll see he’s wide open down the seam in a few plays. Brady just didn’t see it. We all thought Evans was being locked down by Marshon Lattimore all game, but in fact he wasn’t.
Mike Evans has 17 targets in the past two games. "Mike was open a bunch in that ballgame. He didn't get targeted. That's all. Mike was open.''— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) November 9, 2020
We also realize just how critical the running game is. You can’t be effective with 8 yards on the ground! Both Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II had a total of four carries for only 9 yards. I think the Bears front four are actually better than the Saints and RoJo ran for 106 yards on them. Just no excuse really, especially early in the game.
Can we finally admit that the rookie Tristan Wirfs is outplaying veteran Donovan Smith? Honestly, it might be time the front office does something about it. Smith was the main reason why the pocket collapsed so quickly on Brady. Without Marpet, there was no help for him, and it clearly showed. The upside is that it’s been spotlighted instead of covered up by Brady moving a tight end over or Marpet assisting with a double team.
Key message is, you can be frustrated all you want. Having passionate fans is important to a team that wants to win. But, they’re still 6-3. That’s a winning record, and still one of the best in the league. Only three teams have better records, and they’re all in the AFC (Bills, Chiefs, and Steelers).
The Bucs have some major contests coming up including the Rams and the reigning champs, Kansas City Chiefs. If they can come out of at least two of those with wins heading into the bye week, they’ll be primed to make their playoff run with a forgiving final stretch of games.
This could very easily be the last time that Drew Brees matches up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s dealing with the same sore shoulder he had surgery on when he was still a Charger. He’s been quoted saying that he’s 41 and ‘dealing with some things.’ His fellow players eluding to plays and touchdowns like we’ll never see them again. They may know something we don’t, who knows.
Brees is no doubt a first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback, just as Brady will be. They both have gold jackets with their name on them, hung and waiting. Brees has had a good run against the Bucs and if this were the last time he played them, it was a good way to go out playing the best there ever was.
On my final note. I have to do this. The political parities have me rollin’ today! Here’s a couple from our national friends in sports. Keep smiling Tampa Bay, it’ll get better.
The Bucs had all the legal points tonight and should be declared the winner.— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) November 9, 2020