The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat the New Orleans Saints – even with the Saints playing their starters most of the way – 22-13.
His play on 4th and 1 was the difference. He finishes his rookie year with 65 receptions for 964 yards, 11 TDs, and countless double teams.
The physicality on defense
This is now two straight seasons that Raheem Morris’s defense has gone into the Superdome and beat the Saints. Raheem Morris is the 3rd best defensive coach in the NFL, in my opinion, after Bill Belichick and Steve Spagnuolo. 3 punts, 3 turnovers and 2 FGs means 7 successful drives on a day when Josh Freeman is attacking the Saints secondary. The Saints can’t really use injuries as an excuse as Malcolm Jenkins’ replacement is all-Pro and future Hall of Famer Darren Sharper. The Bucs got 3 sacks from three different dudes born in 1987. Ronder Barber did a great job in what might be his last game as a pro, hustling and covering well.
The Bucs’ practice-squad plucking pays off
Larry Asante got an interception and Dezmon Briscoe got a touchdown while their former teams, the Browns and Bengals couldn’t get anything going on offense and lost. Being able to contribute to a win on the road against the Super Bowl champs must be fun.
I think the playbook needs to open up more on 1st and 2nd down to create more manageable 3rd downs. And it probably needs to open up on 3rd, too. They were 3/10 today.
LOOKING AHEAD: As of when I’m writing this, the Bears lead the Packers 3-0 and the Giants lead the Redskins 10-7. The race to 10 is complete but there may still be playoffs. If there are no playoffs, I’ll put a season recap up here and update on potential draft picks in their respective bowl and all-star games. Whatever the case, the Bucs are one of the most exciting teams on offense and physical and well-coached on defense. There should be no sulking if they have to go pack up their lockers.