Where The Game Will Be Won

January 14th, 2021

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Sunday’s dream matchup against the Saints could be decided by a pain in the neck.

Trey Hendrickson, who emerged from a Bourbon Street alley to register 13 1/2 sacks, is back on the practice field for New Orleans after missing last week’s opening playoff game with a neck injury.

That could spell trouble for Tom Brady because Hendrickson led the assault in Week 9, when the Saints embarrassed the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium.

You might think Buc Nation would be more concerned about how a rookie right tackle will fare against perennial Pro Bowler Cam Jordan, but those concerns have vanished. Tristan Wirfs is no mere rookie. He has taken on some of the best edge rushers in the league and allowed one sack.

Donovan Smith


Neutralizing Hendrickson is another matter because Donovan Smith couldn’t handle him in Tampa. The Bucs were hopelessly behind late in the third quarter when Hendrickson began his rampage.

It started with a sack that was nullified by defensive holding. Then he dropped Brady on the next snap. Then he did it again, flying past Smith off the right edge.

Brady has been sensational during this 5-game winning streak, but his two games against the Saints were brutal. He was sacked six times and threw five interceptions, continuing a disturbing franchise pattern familiar to Buc Nation.

In 2019, Jameis Winston threw four picks against New Orleans, suffering eight sacks in the two losses. In the final 2018 matchup, the Saints dropped Winston four times and picked him off again.

That’s how you establish a five-game winning streak against a division rival.

The Saints have Tampa Bay’s number, in large part because the Bucs can’t keep defenders off their quarterback. But as Brady has demonstrated so dramatically during the past five weeks, he’ll carve you up unmercifully … when he has time.

“They’re high powered,” Jordan says of the visitors. “They have a high-octane offense. They got receivers in depth and running backs in depth, and one of the three, top two quarterbacks of all time. What can you say about Tampa Bay and how they play football?”

Even if Hendrickson is ready to go, the dynamics of this matchup have shifted. An offensive line that struggled in November is peaking.

Brady had ample time to survey the field against Washington’s talented pass rushers as the Bucs rolled up 507 yards.

The Saints boast a talented defense, but so did the Washington Football Team. Even with Aaron Stinnie replacing Alex Cappa at right guard, the Bucs have shown the cohesion and teamwork to keep Brady upright. And when it comes to pass protection, don’t forget about Rob Gronkowski’s physicality as a blocker.

If, and it’s a big if, Brady can go through his progressions without a Saints defender draped over him, Tampa Bay should be one win away from representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.

“As a unit, since the bye week, we’re putting our game together,” says Ryan Jensen.

Flashback Ties

Heading into the 2002 postseason, the Buc offensive line was considered the weak link. Instead, Brad Johnson was well protected against the 49ers, Eagles and Raiders.

The same thing can happen at the Superdome, where Jordan figured this matchup was inevitable.

“The moment Tom Brady came on, you knew that Tampa would be lifted up to a playoff caliber team,” Jordan says. “I always think the defensive line is the most impactful component of a game. We always say we are the spear, not the tip of the sword, not one of the weapons.

“No, we are the entire weapon and then everybody else can feed off of our energy level. But I’m jaded. If you say what’s the most important part of any game, I’m going to say the physicality within the D-line, and how we affect the quarterback.”

So here we are.

Here comes Hendrickson, here comes Jordan. They’re on the hunt and Brady is the prey. They are understandably confident, but so was Chase Young and Montez Sweat.

How’d that work out?

It’s Ira! Stop in and ask for Ira’s good friend Sean Sullivan, the Bill Currie Ford general manager. He will help you personally — in person or by phone and email, and give you a JoeBucsFan discount.

28 Responses to “Where The Game Will Be Won”

  1. Kentucky Buc Says:

    Jordan was obviously told not to give any bulletin board material this week. Otherwise he would be talking crap as usual. Dirtiest player in the game. Karma needs to bite him on the a$$.

  2. Bucsfanman Says:

    The TRENCHES!!! Oh yeah, rest assured that if we are to beat those ‘Aints, we will need to dominate both sides of the trenches.

  3. Mitch Says:

    I saw a clip where Stinnie pancaked Aaron Donald during the game. It made me feel instantly better about him starting this week. With Gronk staying into block I think the Bucs can handle the Saints front.

    Go Bucs!

  4. adam from ny Says:

    if we somehow get to the superbowl, the two teams to fear are the chiefs and the ravens…

    if the ravens get there, they are hot hot hot…on fire…

    the bills and browns don’t worry me as much…

    the brown might be the worst team left in the playoffs…

    and the bills – even though they’re so damn good, two things will arise in the weeks until the game…

    the bills always lose superbowls – this talk will get in allen’s head, and the brady vs allen match up…

    this is a game josh allen chokes vs the goat under the biggest lights

  5. adam from ny Says:

    ira i’ve heard you say “balls to the wall”…

    if we play your chiefs in the superbowl, we’re gonna put “balls to the chin”…

    mahomes chin 🙂

  6. PSL Bob Says:

    Adam from NY, one game at a time bro! This will be one hell of a test, as will the game the following week, should the Bucs beat the Saints. Looking ahead of this week’s game is bad juju.

  7. VABucsfan Says:

    @ adam from ny, LOL!

  8. Coburn Says:

    Adam I watched the last ravens game and honestly got the feeling they wouldn’t win another playoff game. Then again both those defenses were flying around so could be wrong. Felt Lamar made a heck of a run, but otherwise didn’t seem too special. I know stopping his running. Easier said than done… Might be a bad matchup since we couldn’t get to heineke

  9. adam from ny Says:

    if we get past the saints we’ll win the next one vs green bay or the rams…

    unless the conditions in green bay are apocalyptic…

    gotta throw up 40+ on these saints and hope it sticks

  10. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Using Gronk as extra OLineman was very effective against WFT.

  11. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I agree, keep Gronk in to protect Brady, if we have to.

  12. TampaTown Says:

    WTF! “ …one of the three, top two quarterbacks of all time.” Punk a$$ Cam Jordan running off at the mouth AGAIN! He’s really saying he doesn’t think Tom Brady is the best of all time. Man do I want to see him get punched in the mouth $!%# if I played defense I’d be ejected in the first series. I never thought anyone could replace my Packer hate but the Saints finally have. We need to embarrass them for once.

  13. TampaTown Says:

    Yes I know Cam Jordan plays defense I meant I’d go after one of theirs. Donovan Smith can’t let him disrespect Tom Brady like that

  14. BillyBucFan Says:

    The Bucs are ready I believe.
    NO is confident and could fold like A Rod did if we get up in a hurry.
    Brees forcing the ball downfield is NOT a recipe they will excel at.

    Hopefully our DBs are ready to jump some routes instead of back pedaling.
    If we are ahead at half, I believe we grind out a win.

    One thing I noticed is we got banged up in our p layoff

  15. BillyBucFan Says:

    An injury or 2 could change the tide quickly, especially if it’s on the back end for NO

  16. Mike Says:

    The Bucs don’t just want to win, they want to embarrass the Saints. I am very excited to see the Bucs get their revenge.

  17. Listnfrmafar Says:

    TampaTown, I picked up on that to, back handed compliment and what does one of the three, top two quarterbacks mean? Advantage Wirf this guy is a dope. Please, please oLine handle Hendrickson and Jordan like Young and Sweat. No matter what happens hold Jordan to 0 tackles, sacks, hurries. Some are.saying they are hearing Tampa wins, trust me those folks are limited, the rest of.the world is picking NO. Brady loves to be the underdog, nothing inspires him more.

  18. 813bucboi Says:

    yeah i hope jordan and hendrickson get man handled and dominated….

    GO BUCS!!!

  19. DoooshLaRue Says:

    We have Durable Donnie!

    We have nothing to fear!

    We’ve got a top 10 LT!

    We are blessed!

    Didn’t you read the article the other day?

    Donovan is awesome!

  20. Jmarkbuc Says:


    As long as Gronk is with him…, we should be fine😬

  21. Aaron E May Says:

    Cam J. is “Fresh as a summer breeze…clean as a mountain spring”!

  22. Clw JB Says:

    there is no other mindset than we have to score every time we posses the ball and convert 75% of red zone chances into TD’s

    The last time we beat them at their house, if I recall correctly, was my birthday in NOLA a few years back and got to witness bombs away with Fitzmagic as my present

    for the record I am craving Acme Oyster Co as I type…..

    We need 48 points to win this time too

  23. IrishMist Says:

    When you have a sore neck, a sudden, jarring, unexpected impact from the side can be really debilitating. Just sayin’.

  24. BucEmUp Says:

    Late in the season and the Bucs have one extra day of rest under their belt. It’s playoff football this should be an epic matchup.

  25. BucEmUp Says:

    Early in the season Leftwich forced deep ball after deep ball. As of late, they have bated the defense in with the short game then took their shots. Keeping them switching into different coverages, running motions, being unpredictable….gotta keep that going.

  26. ATLBucsFan Says:

    Not one comment about Cam talking about physicality. Last game their physicality blew up our line consistently. We need to come out and match their physicality or our blocking will breakdown. Go Bucs!

  27. gotbbucs Says:

    Run the football. Thats how you neutralize their d-line. We ran the ball three times in the last game, THREE!

    If we can run the ball 25-30 times we win. Two or three end arounds too, maybe a reverse. The play calling in the run game needs to be a little more creative. Scotty Miller and Antonio Brown are weapons, get them the ball in space, and let Evans and Godwin move the chains.

  28. ReverseTowelGirl Says:

    It will be “won” by the team who scores the
    most points, creates the most turnovers, puts the most pressure on the QB to cause mistakes, prevents first downs, neutralizes the running backs and receivers and prevents the other team from gaining offensive yards. There, just use those points for every game played in the NFL.