Who Dat Nation is trying to make sense of what happened on Sunday. No one on earth predicted a win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Surprisingly, the product on the field looked all too familiar. The 7-9 seasons were supposed to be in the rear view mirror for the New Orleans Saints. Then again, nothing is certain from week to week in the NFL.
New Orleans Saints Fans Trying to Make Sense of Sunday’s Loss
The final score was 48-40 as time expired. The Saints almost pulled a ‘rabbit out of a hat’ in the end. However, the magic trick didn’t go as planned. The momentum swung in the Saints direction in the fourth quarter. But in the end, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick simply played to perfection, and his legs wore out the defense.
The Saints came in as heavy favorites, almost 10 points at kickoff. Oddsmakers must have had the wrong team on top. Regardless, the game ended up as an implosion on the defensive side of the ball. Sean Payton said it best after the game when a reporter asked what went wrong with the defense.
“Take your pick. Take your pick. We didn’t hurry the passer, guys were open, third downs were awful. They had 500 yards plus on offense. We didn’t disrupt the timing element of the passing game and too many penalties. I can’t think of any positives.”
The truth was told. The defense was abysmal. Everything that could’ve gone wrong happened. Also, the calls even felt like the refs were against the Saints too. Still, the synopsis of it all was a total breakdown in all phases on defense.
While it’s true that Tampa Bay plays in the very competitive NFC South, no one saw this coming. Granted, the games within the division are never an easy win. This beatdown of the defense felt way too familiar and brought back memories of years’ past.
Once the Buccaneers scored 14 points in the first quarter, the dome knew this game was heading towards a shootout. The 14-10 lead after the first quarter for the Bucs was just a snippet of what was coming. At halftime, the Saints’ defense gave up 31 points. Putting up that many points is unheard of in one half. Notably, the Saints gave up 38 points against the Detroit Lions in 2017. But that point total occurred after a full game.
Giving up 48 points with two turnovers was a recipe for disaster. In addition, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick sure looked like Joe Montana, finishing with a near-perfect rating of 156.2. Perfection is a 158.3 on the ranking scale and Fitzpatrick sure looked it. He completed 21 of 28 passes for 417 yards and four touchdowns. Most important, he accounted for zero turnovers. On the other hand, Drew Brees also played exceptionally. Brees threw for 439 yards and three touchdowns with no picks. Unfortunately, excellent didn’t equal perfection.
The irony of the unanticipated performance played out as starting quarterback Jameis Winston watched. Winston is currently serving a suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Surely, the Bucs believed that Fitzpatrick could lead them, while Winston sits and waits. Still, the outcome of his play had to shock even the most die-hard Tampa Bay fans.
Fitzpatrick has been around the league and is no newcomer. He’s thrown for over 170 touchdowns and over 27,000 yards in his career. Actually, the yardage is 62nd on the all-time list in career yards. So, there was enough evidence that he was capable. But the career game seemed to be a long shot. Fitzpatrick delivered though. The consistent barrage of bombs that fell in the receivers’ hands was laser accurate. The Saints looked beaten down, confused, and outmatched. There were so many breakdowns that AAA wouldn’t have the answer.
In any event, the loss only counts as one ‘L’ in the loss column. By December, this game should be just a blip on the radar. At least, that’s what Saints’ fans hope.
All things considered, the loss stings but doesn’t really have much of an impact on the rest of the season. The Saints get another home game against the Cleveland Browns. Additionally, the Saints better be ready for a hungry young team with ex-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. No doubt, Williams is going to bring the house to corrupt the offense. The Browns may actually be a better team on paper, and they tied the Pittsburgh Steelers last week 21-21.
Victory is a must come Sunday. That’s all that matters.