Well, they were somehow able to pull that off. The Bucs potentially saved their season with a thrilling comeback win against the New Orleans Saints. Down 16-3 with just over three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Bucs won 17-16 after scoring a touchdown with just three seconds left.
Monday night was a huge win for this team as there is a huge difference between 6-6 and 5-7. Each week, we are going to be analyzing each prediction and see if it was on the money or off the mark. Let’s get into it.
Gil Arcia: One step forward, two steps back
“The Saints defense always seems to play a Tom Brady-led Buccaneers offense really good. Despite their wins this season, Tampa Bay truly hasn’t been as dominating offensively as they once were under Brady. Even in New Orleans and all the Jameis Winston turnovers, you can say the Bucs had no business winning that game. With that said, after their win in Munich against a very good Seahawks team and taking what looked to be a step forward offensively, they took one step back last week in Cleveland and will take another step back this week when the Saints defense forces the Bucs into three turnovers and five sacks under the lights in Raymond James Stadium.”
Despite the win, this prediction by Gil is pretty close. Aside from the opening drive of the game and the final two drives, the Tampa offense was lifeless. They protected Tom Brady a bit better than Gil expected as they only allowed one sack, even though they did give up their fair share of pressures. The Bucs had two turnovers in this one and that is something they have avoided this season so hopefully that does not turn into a trend. It is not often that a team is going to have an opportunity to win the game late with the way the Bucs have been playing offense. Has to be better.
James Yarcho: Round Two. Fight!
“If Mike Evans and Marshon Lattimore don’t participate in some sort of celebrity boxing match for charity once their careers are over, it’s a missed opportunity. Until then, we just have to deal with the battles on the field. Evans and quarterback Tom Brady have seemed disconnected the last few weeks, but have made it a point to work those things out in practice. The Bucs will need a spark from somewhere and they’ll find it in the form of Evans. He wins round two, going for over 70 yards and having a touchdown catch for the first time since week four.”
Lattimore did not play in this game as he is dealing with an injury. The Brady and Evans connection was again not great on Monday, but they did just enough as Evans was able to draw a defensive pass interference penalty which helped set up the Bucs first touchdown. Brady and Evans have to be better in the future though if this team wants to go far this year.
Mike Kiwak: Monday Night Mess
“The Buccaneers do not fair well against the Saints at Raymond James Stadium. Since their last home win against New Orleans five years ago, the Saints have won by an average of 18.75 points per game. Tampa has scored 3 total points in the last two matchups. While the Saints are bad this year, the Bucs aren’t exactly lighting anyone up and seem a thread’s length away from completely imploding...and I think that’s exactly what will happen. After having a ton of turnover luck in their Week 2 win, the Bucs experience a reversal of fortunes and cough the ball up three times en route to a back-breaking loss.”
The Bucs actually lost the turnover battle in this one, but were somehow able to come away with the win due to some clutch plays by the defense and the offense waking up. They did just enough to win this game and sweep New Orleans but against a better opponent, they will have to play much better.
Will Walsh: Welp...
“I don’t want to come off as piling on, but politely, I don’t know how Tampa wins this game. Everything the Bucs did last week, against a bad Cleveland team, looked like a struggle. The offense is and has been a flip flop stuck in the mud all season. The Saints defense stifled the Bucs in their first matchup and that was when Tristan Wirfs, Leonard Fournette, and Russell Gage were completely healthy. Injuries have played a big role in the Buccaneers’ season and unfortunately for Tampa, this time around the Bucs won’t have ‘Famous Jameis’ handing them the ball throughout the game. Saints win, Chris Olave breaks Tampa Bay’s back with two or three colossal plays.”
Olave made a few plays, but was relatively quiet throughout the contest. Again, the Bucs coming away with the win with how they played in that game was very surprising and a total stunner to not only the Saints, but to anyone who has watched this team the past three months.
Chris Weingarten: Last ditch effort
“Both of these teams have underperformed this season due to similar reasons. Poor coaching, numerous injuries, and flat-out bad play by key players, have led each team to this point. While I don’t see much hope left for the Buccaneers this season, I think that they will show up on Monday night against the Saints. Tristan Wirfs being sidelined is hugely significant and will hamper an already struggling offense. But I see the defense making enough plays and causing a few turnovers to keep the Saints at bay. Tom Brady will lead another last-minute drive resulting in a Ryan Succop field goal at the buzzer for a 13-10 win.”
Man... Chris is super close here. Instead of a Succop field goal, the Bucs needed a touchdown from Tom Brady to Rachaad White to come away with the one point win. While the defense did not force any turnovers, they consistently forced the Saints to settle for field goals and also made key third down stops when it mattered the most. A job well done or Todd Bowles’ defensive unit.
James Hill: Bucs offense continues to be really really bad
“The Bucs offense has been a mess this year. Players have not been utilized in the correct way, execution is off, play calling and play sequencing has been spotty at best, and many more issues have been shown with Byron Leftwich, his coaching staff, and the Bucs offense as a whole. The Saints are always a tough matchup for the Bucs and while they beat them earlier in the season, I expect the Bucs offense to struggle yet again in this matchup. Saints head coach Dennis Allen always seems to out coach Byron Leftwich and I believe that continues and the Buccaneers will not score a single touchdown in this matchup and it will turn into a kickers and defensive duel.”
It was certainly looking like this prediction was going to be on the money until Tom Brady decided enough was enough and was able to score a touchdown against the Saints in Raymond James Stadium. Oh and not just one touchdown, but two! What type of bizarro world is this?
Is this something the Bucs can use to finally gain momentum and make a postseason run? They just swept the Saints for the first time since 2007. That has to feel good for this group and to do it the way they did only makes it sweeter. The Bucs will need better performances as soon as next week, but for now this victory is a pretty cool one for Tampa Bay.