The Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered their most embarrassing loss of the Tom Brady era Sunday Night as they were shut out by the New Orleans Saints 9-0.
This was the first time the Bucs have been shut out since Tom Brady arrived and the first time that coach Bruce Arians has been shut out as coach of the Buccaneers.
The Bucs have had a bad loss or two. Last year’s 38-3 massacre at the hands of the New Orleans Saints comes to mind. But this 9-0 loss on Sunday Night was the worst loss of the Tom Brady era in Tampa. The Bucs high-powered offense was dominated by the Saint’s defense all game.
The Saint’s offense was putrid as well as they were held to 212 total yards by the Bucs defense, their lowest output of the season. But they managed to score nine points. Nine more points than the second-best offense in the league could score.
How rare is a shutout in the NFL? This is only the third time Brady has been shut out in his NFL career and the first time since 2005. This was the Bucs’ first shutout loss since a 41-0 defeat, to you guessed it, the New Orleans Saints in 2012. This was the shutout loss at home for the Bucs since a 24-0 loss to the New York Giants in 2009.
Bruce Arians talked about being shut out at home. “It’s very disappointing. It’s never happened to me. I can’t remember the last time I was shut out or us.”
The Bucs were also hit hard by injuries in this game. Two starting wide receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, left in the first half with soft tissue injuries. The injury to Godwin appears to be the more severe injury.
Goodwin suffered a torn MCL and will miss the rest of the season. Evans suffered a hamstring injury and will be a game-time decision on Sunday if he can play.
Minus Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Breshad Perriman, who was on the COVID list, the Bucs turned to Scotty Miller, Jaelon Dardon, and Tyler Johnson. That would prove to be a disaster. There were five dropped passes, receivers not running routes correctly, and the group catching just six of 13 targets.
Bruce Arians was disappointed in the young receivers. He talked about the impact the injuries had on the game and the play of the backup receivers. “Obviously, it was big. The young guys, I was hoping they would step up more at receiver. Overall, we just dropped too many balls, too, when we did have some guys open. They(the Saints)did a good job. They played that hard man-to-man, and we did not do a very good job of getting open.”
It was not just the receivers that had an off day; tight end Rob Gronkowski had a game he would rather forget. Gronkowski was targeted 11 times and caught only two balls for 20 yards.
This was not just about the ineptitude of the offense. Arians also called out special teams for their poor play. “Between the offense and the kicking game, it cost us the game. The defense played good enough to win.” Ryan Succop missed a 45-yard field goal in the first half, and although Punter Bradley Pinion averaged 42 yards per punt, he did not set the Bucs defense up very well with a couple of his punts.
One thing you can count on is an honest assessment from Tom Brady, and he was brutally honest in his opinion of Sunday’s performance. “I don’t think we were much good at anything. I wish it was just one thing. It was a lot of things. So we’ve got to do better in every facet of offensive football to score points. We’re not going to win, scoring no points.”
Running back Leonard Fournette also suffered a hamstring injury, and all indications point to him missing possibly two weeks.
Linebacker Lavonte David suffered a foot injury late in the game and could miss some time.
It is safe to say that after this debacle at Raymond James Stadium Sunday Night, the Bucs will not have the number one seed in the playoffs. The Bucs are the number three seed right now, guaranteeing only one home game.
The Bucs are 10-4, still lead the NFC South, and have a lot of football yet to play. But they will need to win the remaining three games minus Chris Godwin to hold on to that number three seed.
Antonio Brown and Breshad Perriman should be back next week, ready to go against Carolina.
This is only one game in a 17 week season. Yes, it sucks that this loss came to a division opponent. But if any team can put this behind them quickly, it is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs offense knows they played horrible football. I would not be want to be Carolina next week facing an angry Tom Brady.