BUCS – AFTER THE DUST SETTLES : SAINTS
By Leo Haggerty
Archived under Featured Articles – Professional & Tampa Bay Buccaneers

For the first time during the 2019 regular season, Tampa Bay was never in a contest.  New Orleans jumped to a quick 13-0 1st quarter lead and extended it to 20-zip midway through the 2nd quarter.  From there, the Saints cruised to a 34-17 blistering of the Bucs.

The Buccaneers tried to mount a couple of comebacks but were thwarted by the guys from The Big Easy on every occasion.  Whenever the Pewter Pirates made a move to attempt to get the game to one score, the Black & Gold defense either came up with a defensive stop or a Pick Six.

On the other side of the football, Saints QB Drew Brees was simply a maestro leading an orchestra.  The Buccaneers defense was only able to disrupt the symphony once.  That was when Tampa Bay safety Mike Edwards was able to corral #9 but that was to only time.

Even once, the officials put the brakes on a Tampa Bay drive.  With the Bucs trailing 27-17, and facing a fourth-and-1 at their own 43-yard line, QB Jameis Winston hit WR Mike Evans on a slant to move the chains.

Only problem was that #13 was flagged for pass interference.  HC Bruce Arians unsuccessfully challenged the call, which is exactly what I would have done, and the Bucs were forced to punt.

This was, in my opinion, a huge misapplication of the the PI rule.  Receivers are, and have been for a long as I have been associated with the game of football and that over 50 years, taught to “swim” a press coverage defender at the line of scrimmage.  That’s exactly what #13 did and, in fact, it was a textbook swim maneuver. Push the defender’s shoulder pad with you left hand and swim through with the right.  The problem was that’s not how the zebras saw it.

Finally, the Pewter Pirates took a huge step backwards with the blowout loss to the Saints.  It shows that the Bucs, when playing a good team that was motivated coming off a loss, weren’t ready to step up to that challenge.  Tampa Bay couldn’t match the New Orleans intensity and that’s what concerns me the most.

Below are the comments of Arians after the game.  You’ll see he wasn’t a happy camper either.

Can the Buccaneers turn it around in Atlanta against the Falcons?  Check out my four keys to victory later this week in my GOAL LINE STAND column.  Enjoy.

LH : You’re just not going to beat New Orleans if you don’t pressure Drew Brees, right?

BA : No doubt, no doubt. We were close on some, but not enough.

LH : Did Evans get a stinger when he had to come out of the game?

BA : No, Just got the wind knocked out of him.

LH : New Orleans is a pretty good football team, aren’t they?

BA : A very good football team. We knew it coming in that we didn’t have to play perfect, but we couldn’t make mistakes like third-and-16 and jumping offside twice. We still held them, but still, those are the kind of mistakes we just have to eliminate. Missed tackles. We just did not tackle very well today and we had been tackling well.

All photos courtesy of photo-journalist Trace Crisp.