For the second week in a row, the Buccaneer’s offense looked flat and had to rely on their defense in a 20-10 victory against the New Orleans Saints.
Buccaneer fans have been waiting for this moment for five seasons. Finally, it happened. On a day when the defense forced five turnovers, the Bucs began the Todd Bowles era 2-0 with a 20-10 victory on the road in New Orleans against the Saints.
It happened the last time in 2018. That was the last time the Bucs went into the big easy and beat the Saints in a regular season game 48-40. In that game, Ryan Fitzpatrick was under center, passing for 417 yards in the season-opening win.
Since that game, the Bucs have struggled against the Saints, going 0-6 in the regular season.
A tremendous defensive effort Sunday afternoon, including three interceptions of Jameis Winston and six sacks, helped the Bucs snap that six-game losing streak and get their second win this season.
Devin White knew the Bucs had to be patient, keep playing their game, and good things would happen.
The Saints scored on their opening drive as Will Lutz connected on a 31-yard field goal to give them a 3-0 lead.
It would stay 3-0 until the melee in the fourth quarter. It appeared to start when Saints defensive back Marshon Lattimore said something to Tom Brady, which did not sit well with Leonard Fournette.
Fournette stepped in and shoved Lattimore, who in return pushed Fournette. Lattimore took a couple of steps towards Brady, which is when Mike Evans got into the melee. Evans charged Lattimore, knocking him to the ground, and that’s when all hell broke loose.
The fight escalated and ended with Evans and Lattimore being ejected from the game.
This fight seemed to light a fire under the Bucs, who then scored 20 unanswered points until the Saints scored a touchdown late in the game to make the final 20-10.
This was another frustrating game for the offense as Tom Brady had his second-lowest passing game since coming to the Bucs, passing for just 190 yards and one touchdown.
The Bucs were playing without three key players on offense, as wide receivers Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, and offensive tackle Donovan Smith would not even dress for the game.
The Bucs would also lose tackle Josh Wells to a hamstring injury and wide receiver Mike Evans, who would be disqualified.
The Bucs had trouble getting the running game going, as they averaged just 2.4 yards per carry on the ground behind Leonard Fournette’s 65 yards.
But the story of the game was once again the Bucs defense which forced five New Orleans turnovers and intercepted Jameis Winston three times.
Jamel Dean had two picks, and Mike Edwards picked off Winston and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown to put the final nail in the coffin.
Devin White led the defense for the second week in a row with 11 tackles and a sack.
Shaq Barrett, Vita Vea, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Lavonte David, and Antoine Winfield also participated in the sack party.
The Bucs were able to win this game despite the offense’s inefficiency.
The team was only able to generate 260 yards of offense. But when your defense is playing lights out, you don’t need your offense to look like the ’99 Rams.
Todd Bowles was pleased with the defense’s effort but was not happy giving up that touchdown late in the game. “We shouldn’t have given up that,” said Bowles. So three and three-quarters’ worth of good work and we lapsed at the end. We’ve got to learn to finish up ballgames.”
The Buc’s defense is giving up a league-best 6.5 points per game. The defense is ranked fifth overall and tied for second in takeaways.
Our Tampa Bay Pro Sports player of the game is safety Mike Edwards who picked off Jameis Winston and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown to put the game out of reach for the New Orleans Saints.
The Bucs are now 2-0 and head home for the season opener against a familiar foe, the Green Bay Packers.
Mike Evans Suspended for Green Bay Game
–Wide receiver Mike Evans has been suspended for the upcoming game with the Packers for his shove on Saints defensive back Marshon Lattimore. This is the second time that Evans has been suspended for an altercation with Lattimore. Evans will appeal the suspension.
Lattimore is a notorious cheap shot artist that consistently plays with a chip on his shoulder. He is the “Tom Wilson of the NFL.” Yet the NFL, as it usually does when a Tampa player is involved, turns a blind eye to Tampa’s opponents taking cheap shots against Buccaneer players. Shame on the NFL.
Lattimore should have gotten a one-game suspension as well for his egregious behavior. Unfortunately, this nonsense will continue between these two teams until the NFL quits playing favorites and takes the appropriate actions against both players involved.