Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Saints

November 1st, 2021

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The Bucs were quarantined in their hotel rooms Saturday night while New Orleans revelers ushered in Halloween. On Sunday, they failed to join the party once again.

For much of the matchup in the noisy Superdome, the Bucs were dressed up like the Jacksonville Jaguars. They stumbled around punch-drunk, ultimately paying a severe price for their sloppy, undisciplined ways.

Instead of opening up a 2 1-2 game lead on the Saints atop the NFC South, the Bucs allowed New Orleans to creep within a half-game. If the Saints beat the Falcons at the Superdome next Sunday while Tampa Bay is idle, the two teams will be tied at 6-2.

Where does one start with a setback this disappointing?

The Bucs just lost to a third-string quarterback who had attempted all of six passes since 2018.

They lost despite another superb defensive effort against Alvin Kamara, who kept running into the brick wall also known as Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea, Lavonte David and Devin White.

Somehow, the Saints made enough plays after Jameis Winston departed with what Sean Payton fears is a “significant” knee injury. The horse collar flag against White was indeed bogus, but there was nothing fake about the resilience shown by Sean Payton’s group en route to a sixth consecutive win against the Bucs in the regular season.

Who played well for the visitors? It’s a short list, starting with Chris Godwin. Tyler Johnson showed up, along with Giovani Bernard and Jordan Whitehead.

On a day Kamara was bottled up, there are no excuses for allowing the Saints to roll up 26 first downs and 361 yards.

While giveaways and penalties were the ultimate culprits, New Orleans played with more

physicality and enthusiasm. And with the game on the line, that opportunistic Saints defense made the play of the day.

Here’s how Tampa Bay stumbled into the bye week on a downer:

* Payton is doing a terrific job, reinventing the Saints following the retirement of Drew Brees. They still have Tampa Bay’s number, at least between September and December, and the Saints finished with zero giveaways and two penalties for 10 yards.

* The Bucs snapped the football 58 times and Byron Leftwich dialed up only 14 running plays. Given that Tampa Bay averaged 5.1 yards per carry, that’s poor coaching.

* Tristan Wirfs couldn’t own Cameron Jordan forever. After being manhandled in their three previous encounters, Jordan gained some revenge on Wirfs off the left edge with a forced fumble, along with a sack. He took Brady by surprise by knocking the ball out of his hand midway through the second quarter, leading to a FG.

* Rob Gronkowski probably should have sat this one out and rested up for Week 10. He didn’t catch a pass before leaving with back spasms and there’s no telling when he’ll be available again.

* Troy Aikman often gets on my nerves for stating the obvious, like, “This is a big drive for the Rams because it’s 17-17 early in the fourth quarter.” Nobody should be paid big money for that kind of drivel, but Aikman was sharp throughout the Bucs-Saints game, offering some keen insight to explain Brady’s mistakes.

* In our weekly podcast “Tampa Two,” Derrick Brooks correctly picked the Bucs to lose to the Rams and Saints. Yes, the Hall of Fame linebacker knows his favorite team very well.

* Poor tackling was an issue all afternoon as New Orleans receivers kept picking up additional yards after the catch. That’s barely understandable in Week 1 … it’s downright shameful in Week 8.

* Six of Tampa Bay’s 11 penalties generated first downs for New Orleans. That’s the kind of agita that may have led Bruce Arians to reach for another cocktail on the flight home.

* Since the opener against Dallas, Brady had thrown 17 TD passes and only one pick. It was stunning to see him make two poor reads at the Superdome. Buc fans were feeling mighty confident when Brady took over with 101 seconds remaining and Tampa Bay down by one point. Five seconds later, despite sturdy protection, he threw into double coverage and the Saints were marching out with a crucial victory.

* Stepping back for a moment, a 6-2 record heading into November isn’t too shabby. Last year’s Bucs were 6-2. The 2002 Bucs were 6-2. There are several things to clean up, but reinforcements are on their way after the bye week. This remains a team nobody wants to match up against in January.

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26 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Saints”

  1. SteveK Says:

    I’m still pissed off about the loss. My grandpa passed away Saturday night, after an amazing life (94 years) and was hoping for a pick me up from the Bucs and a “W”.

    Too any penalties, and defense gave up the booty to the 4th stringer. Let’s go Bucs! I’ll be at the game vs the WFT, let’s kick some ass.

  2. Bruce Blahak Says:

    f’n Saints….painful, again

  3. Says:

    Before our final drive started, did anyone else catch the cameras on Brady and leftwhich talking about their plans for that drive? The camera must have been on them for 20 seconds! You could see them both doing crossing routes with their arms, making them into an X. I was literally sitting there thinking that this is going to make its way to the saints sideline, and we’re going to get picked off. 2 plays later!

  4. Bobby Buc Says:

    honestly, i’m actually glad we lost- we’ve been looking a bit sloppy the past few weeks. now is a good time to regroup and kill it after the bye…

  5. Show Me the TDs Says:

    @ SteveK. Condolences for your loss.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I think we haven’t covered the spread in 5 games of our 8……for me, the worst play of the game was the neutral zone infraction that gave them a first down and ate some clock…forced us to use 2 time outs and gave their new kicker an easy field goal….

    That is unacceptable…..

  7. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Yeah, StevenK, sorry to hear about your grandfather.

  8. Hodad Says:

    I wouldn’t say nobody wants to match up with us. As you said Ira a third string QB punked us, Matt Stafford isn’t afraid to face the Bucs. I’d bet Rodgers would like another crack at us also. Then there is the Saints who with a win next week sits a top the division. They seem to know how to beat us. Unless our defense get’s it’s act together, we’re going to get run in the playoffs this year.

  9. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Grab your NFL rule book Ira. A horse collar is defined as grabbing inside the collar or grabbing the jersey at or above the name plate , which White clearly did , it was a correct call. Bucs defense is undisciplined and suffered the loss as a result of that lack of discipline-period.

  10. orlbucfan Says:

    This season is eerily mimicking last year. Thank god for the Bye week. As a Saints fan pointed out on another site, the Aints mauled the Bucs in both regular games last year. This time they didn’t. They’re right. The Bucs beat themselves. Plain and simple. Brady played a big part in it, too.

  11. HC Grover Says:

    Read the rule book. Horse collar includes pulling down runner from behind by grabbing his jersey at the name plate or above and all across the back. I had to look it up cause I thought it was bogus. It was not.

  12. BucDan Says:

    Great write up, Ira!

    * Six of Tampa Bay’s 11 penalties generated first downs for New Orleans. That’s the kind of agita that may have led Bruce Arians to reach for another cocktail on the flight home.

    The above, to me, was the one of the biggest heart-breakers. Hard to seep the energy on defense when you make a big play and it’s negated by the referees / bad play by an individual away form the play.

    Rest up over the bye week and get ready to light up WFT.

  13. James Allen Lofton Says:

    White needs to understand football is the ultimate Team sport and must put his cockiness up his A$$ and let it go doing the game.

    He’s not playing at a Pro level and Bowles needs to sit A$$ down and tell him to do his job only or watch the game from the sidelines.

  14. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Historically no name backup or 3rd string QBs have had hall of fame days against the bucs; The bucs secondary is abysmal and the right recipe for Sikema and Payton

  15. zzbuc Says:

    We will be back Sage……U can bet on it!!!

  16. Ed Says:

    Hopefully the Bucs will figure out how to help out the right cornerback. Dennis Allen and Sean Peyton are so smart compared to our coaches. Early in the game Aikman predicted that wherever #43 went, the ball was sure to go. The first TD Winston threw to Smith to the left side of the end zone had #43 trailing.

    No doubt the Winfield INT was a a game changer that the officiating crew blew, Will Ghoulston did not rough up Semien despite not having a helmet, horrible call on a game changing play. Looking back, that play ended up taking away a possession for the Bucs that NOLA put up points.

    As soon as NOLA gets the ball back they started going after #29. After an Ingram run up the gut which JPP couldn’t tackle, next play they go after #29, Desir. With a short throw to the right side, Mr Desir doesn’t push Smith out of bounds and he tip toes down the sideline for another 7 yards. Then a short TD. Proper angle by #29 and he pushes Smith out of bounds short of first down.

    Second half, Peyton keeps going after #29. First play of the half Semien throws a jump ball to no-name Kevin White who makes his first catch in 3 years for 30+ yards! Why is Desir one on one with this guy?

    A few plays later Semien throws a duck into the middle of the zone where #43 is out of position to contest the first down. Drive ends with Kamara taking a toss into the end zone. Certainly looked like LVD was being held in end zone?

    Next 2 possessions Bucs score 2 TDs thanks to Chris Godwin making YACs and then a nice Brady to Evans reception. Offense doing its job, 23-21 New Orleans. Bucs get it back once again but a penalty puts them in a 3rd and 14 and the short pass to Godwin is covered and Saints get it back.

    At this point in the game the stupidity and lack of focus begins to kill the comeback. 3rd and 5 and both Barrett and JPP jump offsides handing the Saints an unearned first down! Self inflicted wound! Next running play, Bucs stop Ingram after a short run but Devin “no show in ’21” runs his mouth at Ingram and gets flagged for 15. Moronic! Time to go after #29 again who has a cushion on Smith and gives up an uncontested 12 yard first down. Bucs hold and give up 3, 26-21 Saints.

    Next possesion, Saints blow coverage on Grayson for easy TV, Bucs 27-26. Lousy call on 2 point conversion, running Godwin wide, Saints were ready, play had no chance. Should have thrown the ball on that conversion!

    Saints drive opens with another shot at #29, playing 10 yards off, Callaway runs 12 yards right at Desir comes back and makes a good catch of a low ball. Again as soon as QB sees #29 balls comes out quickly. Next play another trick from Payton, a double toss and Saints waltz their way for a easy 20+ gain. Every game Saints play vs Bucs there is a trick play, Bucs never ready for it!

    Saints kick another field goal after a holding penalty gives a first down on a throwaway pass by Semien. Bucs had them stopped but I think #43 held on a receiver that was 35 yards away from where the ball went out of bounds.

    Bucs get it back with enough time to drive and we all saw Brady throw to a covered Godwin in double coverage and the easy pick 6.

    Overall the stupidity of those penalties and the lack of understanding that the Saints were going to attack certain DB’s cost the defense. Saints should never be able to put up 3 touchdowns and 2 FG’s on this defense but once again Sean Payton shows why he is the best play caller in the NFL and why he has the Bucs number. He finds the weakness and attacks.

  17. NashvilleBuc Says:

    You know it’s a terrible game destined for loss when you can’t celebrate a SINGLE offensive or defensive play until you wait to make sure there are no flags because more than likely there is going to be one. Disgusting. If they had kept their cool (including Brady) they win that game by a large margin.

  18. Dapostman Says:

    Ira, how hard is it to google ‘horse collar tackle’ before you write your article?

    Please, just the FACTS next time!

  19. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Yes, Mr. Brooks called it. I’ll never doubt “mojo” as a factor again. The Bucs D did its job against the Saints’ starting QB, as Al Davis described what they should do. But who knew that it would make a back up QB look like an All World, All Pro Hall of Famer? Trevor Siemian now joins Case Keenum, Paxton Lynch, and Derek Anderson in Bucs lore as perennial backups who are Buc killers. Still, let’s not hand the Saints the Lombardi trophy just yet (or the Division title as Keyshawn Johnson did this morning). Let’s face it. The Bucs are not 100%, and the bye week will help. There’s a lot of football left in the season, and let’s hope that the Bucs can get healthier and stay that way for the rest of the year. The fire still burns!

  20. Coburn Says:

    Let’s tell it how it is. Brady threw one pick. The other, his receiver was held and unable to get to the spot

  21. heyitsadam Says:

    Ross COCKrell is the second coming of Sabby Piscatelli. The game was over. But he had to hold on a play where the Saints threw the ball away almost immediately.

    There is no one on another practice squad better than him? No one?

  22. Craig Says:

    You nailed it Ira, not much to add.

    It would not have taken much for the Bucs to have defeated the Saints, but our coaches did not redirect the destructive ways. That was the biggest coach fail.

  23. Perimeter Blocker Says:

    I’ll take us moving forward with TB12. I wouldn’t want to be the Saints with either of their QB options. Battle lost but the war will be won.

  24. Ed Says:

    I am both a Bucs (Brady) and a Vikings fan. Who would have thought BOTH my favorite teams would lose to a no-name backup on the same day. I hate the Saints more than any other team in football, and despise Payton with a passion, but I have to admit, Peyton certainly knows how to get the most out of a marginal QB, and the Bucs were thoroughly out coached yesterday.

  25. Jmarkbuc Says:

    This one definitely falls on the 100 or so coaches we have..

  26. unbelievable Says:

    “Within a half game”

    Uh, we both have 2 losses Ira. Saints already have the tie breaker.

    WE are now a half game back… (unless they lose this weekend of course)