1) You know how some days you just get in this funk that just feels like chronic depression to where you can't even be bothered to mope with any energy. Well, that was me this weekend, and I just kind of tuned out and not watched the game today. I checked in here and there on Twitter, and saw how the game was a defensive nightmare for most of it, and just kind of let it go until the last minute or two when the Twitter reports was that the Bucs had a solid lead and going to win.
As a result, this observations fanpost is mostly afterthought, taking note of the replays and the statistics, and offering a general mood about things as we go into Week Three with a 2-0 start.
1a) It's been noted that since 2018, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have struggled against our rival New Orleans Saints, losing in the regular season ever since even with THE GOAT TOM FREAKING BRADY at QB. This was why people were predicting the Saints beating the Bucs in the postseason that 2020, but the Bucs defense stepped up to shut Drew Brees down, forcing three big turnovers that gave us the 30-20 upset win en route to our big Super Bowl win.
So going in today to New Orleans, the Bucs had a serious ghost haunting us, and given how stacked with talent we were this year and coming off a major win against Dallas while the Saints struggled from behind to upset Atlanta, this was the best chance in years to finally win one.
1b) So of course the game statistically speaking turned into a defensive snoozefest.
Brady's problems of getting the offense in sync from previous matchups returned. At one point I caught a clip of Brady smashing YET ANOTHER Surface tablet, that's how frustrating it got.
1c) It's a good thing the Bucs defense from last week showed up THIS week to bring the sacks and QB pressure on Jameis Winston. For all the coolness under pressure Winston learned the past three years being a Saints player, the frustration built up to where by the Second Half he started doing the one thing that has hurt him his entire career: Tossing up INTs. Once he did that, the Bucs had everything they needed to clinch the win.
2) Leading up to our Players of the Game: Huge props to our secondary this week, lead by CB Jamal Dean getting two INTs today especially one in the end zone that squashed the Saints hope and flipped the momentum to us. Dean was a question mark coming in this year, if he would be any better than Sean Murphy-Bunting, but this game proved Dean is a quality starter now.
2a) Mike Edwards stepping up at Safety with the other INT of the day, which became a Pick-Six and putting the Bucs up 20-3 late in the 4th Quarter, pretty much icing the game.
2b) Shaq Barrett: All he does is get sacks. Snagging two today. Granted, he also covers well in the passing game, but he brings that pressure so well.
2c) Devin White followed up last week's performance with a similar dominant performance today, with a sack of his own and leading the team in tackles.
2d) Lavonte David got a sack, showing his veteran presence and leadership on the field. WOOT.
2e) If we can give any props to the offensive side, I would like to thank Breshad Perriman for stepping up and giving us an offensive TD to give us the late lead. We will be relying on you to be the primary WR next week, with Evans likely suspended. Any word on Julio Jones or Chris Godwin???
2f) For all the dinged-up injuries to our offensive line, they only gave up one sack all game and gave Brady some pocket help late in the game to get that TD pass done.
2g) Leonard Fournette didn't have a 100-yard game but he was one of our few consistent offensive players today.
2h) Carlton Davis III had a mostly consistent game by the looks of it, with a fumble recovery and being second total on tackles. Being a good cover guy means he may not see a lot of INTs... but the OTHER GUYS in the secondary - hello again Jamal! - will see that instead.
3) Statistics of the game: Turnovers, son. This game was going nowhere until BOOM Jameis Winston fell back into bad habits and forced bad throws. Bucs ended up with 5 overall (3 INT 2 Fumbles) while only coughing up one fumble. Turnovers ALWAYS means your team gets more scoring chances and the other team won't...
3a) Red Zone Offense: As I mentioned last week, the more times you're visiting the RZ, the likelier you're scoring. Today... the Bucs made one visit and no TD from that, while the Saints made two visits and scored ONE TD out of it. Under other circumstances, this would have meant a loss for us (and it nearly was). Our lack of a passing attack involving our Tight Ends - both Cameron Brate and Cade Otton barely saw any throws to them - may be a big reason why our Red Zone is struggling (hell, our ability to REACH that Red Zone).
3b) PENATLIES WILL BE THE DEATH OF US. Both teams kind of evened out - 8 flags on Bucs, 9 on Saints - but the Bucs had it worse with yardage lost at 101 yards. Arguably that Evans brawl was the big key to that today. Sloppy. Sloppy game today.
3c) Over two games, the Bucs defense has given up a total of 13 points. At this rate over a 17-game season, we should project 111 total points given up. As long as the Bucs offensive average holds up at 19.5 points a game, giving us a 331 total points scored... But seasons don't play that way. Here and there, we're going to face offenses that do better than Dallas and New Orleans. Our OFFENSE needs to do better as well.
4) Speaking of the Mike Evans brawl, his melee with Lattimore got his tossed from today's game, and given how the league wants to crack down on such things and also how Evans and Lattimore fought each other before, the Bucs should expect Evans to get suspended for at least one game. Given that the next game is a big one against Green Bay, the Bucs are facing a terrible quandary with our struggling passing attack.
5) In other NFL news: JFC DID YOU SEE THAT GAME?! Wait, WHICH GAME?! HOLY FORKING SHIRTBALLS WHAT A SUNDAY.
5a) If Justin Herbert hadn't thrown that Pick-Six, the Chargers would have beaten the Chiefs.
6c) The Detroit Lions were shutting out Washington in the First Half, only to have the Commies try a comeback and... nooo, the Lions are better this year, suck it Dan Snyder.
6d) New York Giants are 2-0?! That can't be right...
6e) Wait a minute, who told the Atlanta Falcons to pull off a comeback win? Never mind, they didn't. It would have been hilarious if they had beaten the godless Rams team.
I thought everybody hated Tua...
6g) Dear Indianapolis Colts: Now we know why ATLANTA let Matt Ryan go. You got SHUT OUT BY THE JAGUARS. You're gonna be at the bottom of the AFC South this year, swear to Peyton...
6h) WAIT A MINUTE, WHO THE HELL TOLD THE ARIZONA CARDINALS TO TIE UP LAS VEGAS AND WIN IN OVERTIME WITH A WHAT-THE-HELL-WAS-THAT FUMBLE RECOVERY?!?!?!?!?! AAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUGGGGHHHHHHHH. On the bright side, Murray's last minute wake-up might have saved my fantasy team this week.
6i) The San Francisco 49ers were hoping for Trey Lance to step up this year to be the franchise guy... but nope, got injured. The Niners now gotta rely on Jimmy G - the guy they tried to trade and couldn't - to save their season. Karma, it IS a bitch.
7) In College Football news: I think we need to tell the Florida Gators fan base that their much-hyped QB Anthony Richardson is NOT Heisman-ready, he's not the next Tim Tebow, he's not even the next Jeff Driskel. Richardson can run it, but throwing it... even against a not-so-good South Florida team, he racked up 112 passing yards. In three games, he's thrown 4 INTs and ZERO TDs. Against the rest of the SEC, he is going to get killed...
7a) For my South Florida Bulls, moral victories don't count, but you walked into the Swamp and you WALKED OUT WITH YOUR HEADS UP HIGH. You've got arguably the best RB since Marlon Mack in Brian Battie, and you need to ride his power run to some wins this year. We might see a winning season this year after all.
7b) DAMMIT UL-MONROE YOU HAD ONE JOB, UPSET 'BAMA. /cries
7c) My mom has GOT to be livid at how bad her Auburn Tigers are looking right now. Penn State just flattened them, and this bodes ill for how they'll do in a tough SEC.
7d) Washington should be ranked higher.
8) In professional baseball news: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, TAMPA BAY RAYS CAN YOU PLEASE HIT MORE CONSISTENTLY?! WE GOT A WILD CARD SPOT TO SECURE IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS HERE. /cries
8a) (watches everybody geek out over Aaron Judge having a home run record year) ...Goddamn Yankees...
9) In professional Pokemon Go news, I got a Squirtle.
10) Next up: Buccaneers finally come home for a game, but it's against the Green Bay Packers and they may be in an angry mood the way Aaron Rodgers isn't finding more receivers downfield (GO BEARS).
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