The Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed up to play in New Orleans.
The NFC South is extremely competitive, but this Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed they want to be in the mix. While the Buccaneers defense allowed 40, the offense was nearly flawless and by nearly flawless, I mean tying the franchise record for most points scored in a game. That being said, Let’s check out a couple stats that decided the game.
The Offense: Good (Well, everything?)
While the offense was humming as a whole, Fitzpatrick was the star of the day. 156.3 was his final quarterback rating on the day. There is no doubt about it, Fitzpatrick was incredible in New Orleans. While he finished with a 156.3 rating on the day, not even that stat captures how smooth the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense was. They moved the ball at will and two receivers finished with over 100 yards on the day. Not only did the Buccaneers open the season 1-0, but they opened the season 1-0 on the road against a division opponent. The magnitude of this game is significant, but the Buccaneers got 15 more games to go. It’s a phenomenal start, but the season is young.
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Oh yeah, I’m nitpicking. While my co-host on the Red Flad podcast said Chandler Catanzaro was “automatic”, he did miss a 36 yard field goal in the 4th quarter. The kick could’ve put the game away, but instead the Saints managed to score the next drive and bring it closer. The offense really didn’t have much go wrong, but the kicking game could be an issue when the Bucs don’t score six touchdowns.
The Defense: The Good
While the defense allowed 40 points on the afternoon, they got stops when they needed to. The defense also scored, that’s not a given. Many were calling for Mike Smith to be fired after the first drive, but when the defense needed to, they got stops. Let’s not forget, this is a phenomenal offense in the NFL. The Saints averaged 27.9 points per game in 2017, and 30.2 at home last year. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense forced two three and outs and a turnover in the third quarter while allowing 0 points. Those stops proved crucial down the stretch. Take away their 6 points and this is a much closer game.
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Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas combined for 321 yards on the afternoon. That is an incredible output from two players. While these two have proven themselves to be elite offensive players in the league, the Buccaneers need to do a better job of containing elite players. This isn’t the last week the Buccaneers will see players who are among the best at their position. In two week the Bucs face off against arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL. Talent like Kamara and Thomas will get their yards, but over 300 is just way too much.