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Best and Worst from Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Week 1 Loss to New Orleans Saints

Finding the good, in a bad opening week for the Bucs

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

It was not the way everyone wanted to get the season started as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the defending NFC South Champion New Orleans Saints. With a final score of 34-23, Tom Brady and the Bucs now look on to Week 2 against the Carolina Panthers. Before we get there though, we have to get through the remenants of what happened in New Orleans.

Here we’ll look at three good things the team can carry into their home opener, and three things they need to let die in New Orleans.

THE BEST

SCOTTY MILLER

Kicking off some good news, is a good performance from second-year wide receiver Scotty Miller. Miller tied for second on the team in targets with six, and stood alone in second-place for receptions, with five. His 73-yards were also second-best on the team just six-yards behind star Chris Godwin.

Where Miller did lead the team however, was in the big-play department. His 37-yard connection with Brady in the fourth-quarter contributed to the Bucs’ final score of the night.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Obviously, Miller would rather come away with the win than the big stat line, but he has to feel good about his role with the team as they travel back to Florida.

He’s been a star all training camp, and certainly rose to the occasion in his first real football action since mid-December, 2019.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

For this one we’re going with a two’fer. Lavonte David and Devin White aren’t just the captains of the defense, they’re one (as a pair) of the best darned things we saw in this game.

Together, the dynamic duo combined for 22-tackles. Individually, they tied with each other for the game’s lead in tackles. Oh, and David also chipped in with a quarterback hit and two tackles for losses while the younger off-ball linebacker added another tackle for loss and a pass defended.

Only thing they were missing was the pick-six James Yarcho famously predicted for White on last week’s crossover preview of this match-up, but given all they did, I think we can forgive him.

SEAN MURPHY-BUNTING

Especially early on, Sean Murphy-Bunting came out with his hair on fire playing like a defensive back looking for some regular season honors.

The stat line doesn’t do him justice, but his five total tackles and tackle for loss were instrumental in giving the Buccaneers an early chance to seize momentum, and helped keep them in it when the offense was on their heels.

A nice reaction and dive for an interception was unfortunately overturned by a pass interference call - not on him - but it was a good play nonetheless and an example of the effort and awareness this team will need to achieve their lofty goals for 2020.

THE WORST

DONOVAN SMITH

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starting left tackle may not want to look at his press clippings tomorrow. Go home, enjoy time with your family, and go back to work when the time comes ready to get better. Trust me, searching your name is not going to be fun for the next 24-48 hours.

At the end of the day, we out here don’t know more about being an NFL left tackle than Donovan Smith. We do know enough however to see he was a straight up liability on Sunday afternoon in New Orleans.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Coming off his best season in 2019, I was looking forward to what Smith might have to offer in 2020. If this is it, then I’ll gladly pass for another option. However, this isn’t it, it’s only week one.

Did you read the last sentence as a negative or a positive?

PENALTIES

The New Orleans Saints amassed 119-yards in penalties on Sunday. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers racked up 103. So the Bucs came out on top in the category, right? Wrong!

While the Saints certainly won - or lost - the penalty yards battle, the Bucs won the number of penalties called against them, by three. With their nine penalties, they set up an Alvin Kamara touchdown, gave the Saints a fourth-down conversion (not officially, but you get the meaning), negated an interception, and more.

All penalties are not created equal, and the Buccaneers had some doosies on their ledger leaving Week 1. If the accountability sheet is a real thing, it’s got plenty of residence on it following this one.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Mike Edwards was a blocked field goal and a couple bad punts away from being on this list by himself. Honestly, his error is probably worthy of giving him his own slot, but I’m going to be nice and lump it in with all of the special teams play on Sunday.

If it wasn’t a blocked field goal it was a line-drive punt with no time for the coverage to possibly get to one of the more dangerous return men in the game. Even when the punt was solid, the coverage was lacking. Oh, and then there’s the incident where kick returner Jaydon Mickens gets interfered with by his own teammate.

I gave a lot of credit this off-season to the somewhat quiet focus the Bucs seemed to be placing on the special teams units approaching 2020. Perhaps I gave them too much, or maybe they should’ve been much more aggressive in their efforts.

It’s good to acknowledge the successes, and vent about the failures. But it’s also just Week 1. Plenty of time to build on what the team did well and fix what they didn’t.

In the meantime, pick your best and worst, and come on back as we continue to recap the action from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ opening weekend loss to the New Orleans Saints, and eventually look ahead to the Carolina Panthers!

Poll

Which of these was truly the best of the Buccaneers in Week 1?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Scotty Miller
    (74 votes)
  • 71%
    Lavonte David and Devin White
    (283 votes)
  • 9%
    Sean Murphy-Bunting
    (37 votes)
394 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which of these was truly the worst of the Buccaneers in Week 1?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Donovan Smith
    (204 votes)
  • 23%
    Penalties
    (88 votes)
  • 23%
    Special Teams
    (89 votes)
381 votes total Vote Now