BUCS RECAP – WEEK 8 – OCTOBER 31
By Leo Haggerty
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
The week started with having a chance to chat with HC Bruce Arians on Wednesday before flying to NOLA the following day. That was followed by TE Cameron Brate and S Jordan Whitehead then OLB Jason Pierre-Paul.
LH : When you look at the game films, what jumps out at you about the Saints?
BA : The entire defense. This is by far the best 11 that we’ve faced this year. The front seven. Demario Davis is one of the best there is, the same with Cam Jordan. So, this is a big physical defense with a great secondary. Yeah, the defense stands out. Their special teams are outstanding and they’re a challenge. Offensively, Callaway but it all starts with 41. You’ve got to stop 41. If Alvin’s running around, we’ve got problems.
LH : Is controlling Kamara is easier said than done?
BA : Yeah, very much so. He’s a handful as a runner and a receiver, but more so as a receiver because he is a mismatch on everybody.
LH : Does your defense have any advantage knowing the opposing quarterback so well?
BA : I think there’s a yes and a no. I mean, if he was running this offense, you’d know what to expect more. He’s in a totally different offense. He sat behind Drew for a year, obviously learned a lot and he’s playing the quarterback position actually at a very high level right now.
LH : Brady was trying to get you the ball last week against the Bears, especially in the red zone, but it just didn’t click. Why was that happening?
CB : Yeah, sometimes that happens. It’s kind of frustrating. Passes got knocked down. One was kind of behind me. You know, it’s part of the game. Sometimes, it all comes together and then, last Sunday, we couldn’t catch a break. We just have to keep working. Working on the timing and stuff like that and, hopefully, we can make it work on Sunday.
LH : It’s going to be loud in the Superdome Halloween night but it’s going to probably be quiet when the defense is on the field. Is that an advantage that you’ll be able to communicate?
JW : It does help for us because we can hear each other. We do practice hand signals and stuff like that. We’re used to it. The noise, it kind of goes both ways. It’s an advantage for us when we’re playing at home and it’s loud and their offensive struggles. It can go either way.
LH : Kamara is a dual threat both running the ball and catching the ball. What concerns you the most?
JPP : He’s just a good running back. We’ve faced a lot of good running backs and he’s one of the best running backs that we’re going to face probably this year. I don’t pretty much worry about it. I just want to play my game and, on Sunday, I’m going to hunt. That’s basically it.
On Halloween, Tampa Bay travelled to The Big East to take on New Orleans, and former Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, in Ceasars Superdome which is normally a House of Horrors for the Pewter Pirates. It continued to be that as the Saints came from behind with a late field goal and then a Pick 6 to secure a 36-27 victory. The win moved NOLA to 5-2 on the season and the loss dropped TB to 6-2 on the campaign.
After the Buccaneers held the Saints on fourth-and-1 at the NO 49 yard line, the Pewter Pirates dented the scoreboard first at 8:28 of the opening period. QB Tom Brady (28 of 40 for 375 yards and 4 TD plus 2 INT) found WR Chris Godwin (8 for 140 yards and 1 TD) over the middle just short of the goal line and #14 burrowed his way into the end zone to complete a 12 yard scoring strike. That finished off a six play drive that went 54 yards eating up 2:26. K Ryan Suppup converted the extra point and Pewter Pirates jumped out to a 7-0 lead.
The Saints answered immediately at 2:29 of the first period. Winston (6 of 10 for 61 yards and 1 TD) spotted WR Tre’Quan Smith (3 for 33 yards and 1 TD) in the back left corner of the end zone on a corner route and delivered a perfect strike for a 16 yard touchdown. That ended an 11 play drive that traversed 75 yards in 4:45. K Brian Johnson booted the PAT and that knotted the score at 7 all.
A key play that could effect the outcome occurred with 12:34 left in the second quarter. With Winston scrambling he was horsecollar tackled by LB Devon White and that drew a 15 yard penalty flag. Worse than that for New Orleans was that #2 went down awkwardly and had to be helped from the field. His return is questionable at best and we later found out it was a torn ACL putting the Saints signal caller on the shelf for the rest of the season.
After a New Orleans punt, TB was driving when the Saints registered the first turnover of the tilt at 7:36 of the second period. Brady was sacked by DE Cameron Jordan causing a fumble that was recovered by DT David Onyemata at the NO 37 yard line.
The Black and Gold converted the turnover into points at 2:20. Johnson blasted a 23 yard field goal capping a 5:16 drive that went 58 yards in 10 plays giving the Saints a 10-7 advantage.
The Bucs committed another turnover with 1:48 left in the first half. Brady was picked off by CB CJ Gardner-Johnson giving New Orleans a short field opportunity.
It took the Saints 5 plays to go 35 yards in 1:21 to turn the Buccaneers miscue into points with 27 seconds left in the first half. Backup QB Trevor Siemian (16 of 29 for 159 and 1 TD), playing for the injured Winston, hit FB Alex Armah (1 for 1 yard and 1 TD) just short of the goal for a 1 yard play action scoring strike. Johnson missed the extra point and New Orleans took a 16-7 lead into intermission.
The Black and Gold took the second half kickoff and turned it into points at 9:01 of the third period. RB Alvin Kamara (19 for 61 yards and 1 TD) took a pitch going around left end and followed a great block by TE Adam Trautman to go untouched into the end zone for a 1 yard score. That completed a 76 yard drive that took 10 plays and 5:59. Johnson converted the PAT and the Saints sprinted to a 23-7 advantage.
The Buccaneers cut into the lead immediately at 5:33 of the third quarter. Brady hit RB Giovani Bernard (1 for 7 yards and 1 TD) with a 7 yard catch and run TD. That culminated a eight play drive that took 3:28 to travel 75 yards. Succup hit the PAT to close the gap to 23-14 in favor of the Saints.
After forcing a three and out punt, Tampa Bay scored again at 1:15 of the third period. Brady hit WR Mike Evans (2 for 48 yards and 1 TD) with a perfect 31 yard fade in the left corner finishing off a five play drive that went 65 yards in 3:11. Succup drilled the PAT and the Bucs inched closer at 23-21.
New Orleans extended their margin at 8:34 of the final period. Johnson capped a 30 yard drive that took eight plays and 3:37 with a 35 yard field goal to stretch the Saints lead to 26-21.
The Pewter Pirates took the lead at 5:52 of the fourth quarter on their next possession. Brady connected with newly promoted WR Cyril Grayson (1 for 50 yards and 1 TD), who was wide open down the right sideline, with a 50 yard bomb that finished off a five play drive that consumed 2:47 travelling 75 yards. The Bucs try for the two point conversion was unsuccessful and that kept the score at 27-26 in favor of Tampa Bay.
NOLA retook the lead with just 1:44 left in regulation. Again, it was a Johnson field goal with this one from 23 yards that competed a 12 play drive that took 4:03 to go 65 yards. That gave the Saints what seemed to be a precarious 29-27 advantage especially giving Brady that much time and only needing a field goal for victory.
Today, that would not be the case today. On the second play following the kickoff, S P.J. Williams picked off a pass intended for Godwin and rambled 40 yards into the end zone with 1:24 . Johnson hit the crucial PAT giving New Orleans a nine point lead at 36-27 and that would be the final arithmetic.
The Buccaneers now head into a much needed bye week needing to get healthy especially in the secondary. Look for our next BUCS RECAP in two weeks when Tampa Bay travels to Washington.