It wasn’t too long ago that the New Orleans Saints had the perfect formula to frustrate Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. Before this year, the Saints were 4-0 against the future Hall of Famer in the regular season. Fast forward to 2022, and the success against the Bucs’ starting QB has gone out the window.
On Monday night, the Buccaneers completed the sweep of the New Orleans Saints this season. It was the first time that Tampa had done it since 2007. At one point, the Saints were up by 13 points and were on the doorstep of their fifth win. Within minutes, Brady and the Bucs erased the Saints’ 13-point lead and cruised to another thrilling victory.
The loss has eliminated New Orleans’s hope of getting back into the race to win the NFC South. A victory would have put the Saints at only one game behind Tampa Bay for control of the division. Let’s look at a few crucial takeaways that shifted the outcome of Monday’s game.
Another Stellar Performance by the Saints Defense Was Wasted
The Saints’ defense has always performed exceptionally well against Tom Brady. The unit’s production had gone quite well, dating back to the 49ers game when they could hold San Francisco’s explosive offense to only 13 points. They also limited the Niners’ offense to only one trip to the endzone. On Monday night against Tampa, the Saints defense had many things going their way. They could finally force a few turnovers that could be played in the team’s favor.
However, it won’t matter how well the defense performs when the offense does not capitalize on the opportunities in front of them. Monday’s game had the same flow as the Week 2 matchup in the Dome. The defense was on the verge of pitching another shutout against Brady until mass chaos broke out in the fourth quarter. In the rematch, there wasn’t a fight that broke out; instead, it was inept decisions made by the players and the coaching staff.
Playmakers Not Making Big Plays
Without question, the Saints had a lot of opportunities to put the game away against Tampa Bay. But the offense continues to have the same issues we have seen throughout the season. I am sure that Jarvis Landry was not trying to make the SportsCenter Top 10 Plays for Monday night, but he has to make those types of catches. The Saints would have had another touchdown on the board if the reception had been made.
Before the Landry drop, Chris Olave failed to come down with a reception that would have allowed New Orleans another opportunity to put points on the board. Another sequence where the Saints could have capitalized on Tampa Bay’s shortcomings is when they were deep into their territory only to be penalized for having 12 men on the field.
Instead of the down being third and two, it turned into third and seven because of the penalty. The error by the offense shows how the Saints are poorly coached, even when things are going in the direction. Mark Ingram’s blunder in the fourth quarter sealed the Saints’ fate. Ingram was dealing with significant pain when he decided to go out of bounds instead of pushing forward to pick up the first down. The Buccaneers got the ball back and would win Monday’s matchup after being successful on two back-to-back drives.
What Lies Ahead
After the Buccaneers’ loss, the Saints head into their bye week. They return to action in Week 15 against the Atlanta Falcons. The plan was to win Monday’s game and go into their bye week, which allows players such as Marshon Lattimore and Pete Werner to return from their injuries. There are winnable games on the Saints’ schedule that let them get within reach of the division lead or a possible wild card berth. All of that is out of the window now. They are still mathematically alive, but outside factors out of their control are definitely in play.
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