Points First, Payback Later

September 14th, 2022

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By now, every Buc fan is painfully aware the Saints have Tampa Bay’s number.

What you didn’t know is that the number is 16.6. That’s the meager average point total for Tom Brady’s club in the past five meetings — four of which have been won by the Saints.

The Bucs average more than 30 points against the rest of their schedule, but the offense often turns sloppy and punchless against the primary division rival.

Although New Orleans has won the past seven regular-season meetings, three came prior to Brady’s arrival in 2020. Let’s focus on the past five matchups, which includes Tampa Bay’s 30-20 playoff triumph en route to the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

What gives in this one-sided rivalry?

It’s not like Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas have led the way since Brady became a Buc. In those five games, Kamara is averaging 44 rushing yards and 3.2 yards per carry. Thomas, who has often thrived against the Bucs, missed both matchups in 2021. In three games against Tampa Bay in 2020, Thomas caught 8 passes for 68 yards and zero touchdowns.

Instead, the Bucs have been their own worst enemy with 11 turnovers and 35 penalties.

Tough times for Mike Evans, explains Ira Kaufman.

The primary culprits? Focus on Tampa Bay’s two key offensive weapons.

Let’s start with Mike Evans, who has been taken out of recent games against the Saints to the point he appears disinterested. If No. 13 is getting open, Brady hasn’t noticed because Evans has been targeted only 18 times in those five meetings. He has nine catches for 131 yards — numbers more common for a rookie free agent just trying to avoid the practice squad.

But wait, Evans languishes in distinguished company.

As a Buccaneer, Brady simply has not played well against New Orleans. He’s been battered and bruised … and that’s not just his ego. The Saints have sacked him 14 times and picked him off on eight occasions. In the five matchups, Brady threw as many interceptions as TD passes, a far cry from his career ratio of three TD throws for each pick.

And Brady’s completion rate against New Orleans is a mere 60 percent.

The bottom fell out last December, when the Bucs had an opportunity to clinch the NFC South. Instead, they were blanked 9-0 at home by New Orleans … one of the most disheartening losses in franchise history.

“Just a tough night,” Brady said after he was sacked four times. “Didn’t do much of anything right.”

Despite recent domination by the Saints, the Bucs are favored by 2 ½ points at the Superdome on Sunday afternoon. New Orleans looked drab against Atlanta in Week 1 before Jameis Winston led a furious fourth-quarter comeback.

“That team knows that it can beat Tampa Bay,” says former Saints head coach Sean Payton, who is picking New Orleans to beat out the Bucs as division champs.

Brady wasn’t happy with the passing game against Dallas Sunday night. There were problems on third down and in the red zone, but the Bucs rode a sensational defensive effort to victory.

What better way to emerge from an offensive funk than to shred an annual nemesis and stand alone atop the NFC South after two weeks?

Brady and Evans are looking for some payback. Buc fans are looking for some points. Sunday can’t come soon enough.

Ira loves that lifetime warranty on new and used vehicles!

21 Responses to “Points First, Payback Later”

  1. Howard Cosell Says:

    Hopefully Bowles looks at the saints offense and says:
    “Let me introduce you to my little friend!”
    (The “little friend” being the Bucs new-look defense led by DW45)

  2. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    The Saints get pressure with only 4 rushers, leaving a lot of good coverage people to blanket our receivers.
    The way to beat them is to run the ball down their throats until they stack the line to stop our runs. Once they stack the line, they will have to try and single cover all our receivers like Dallas tried to do.
    Then, Brady will burn them.

  3. BucsfanFred Says:

    Play action all day long with lots actual rushes sprinkled in.

  4. Howard Cosell Says:

    I want you Harley Race!!

  5. Crickett Baker Says:

    In this last game I was very satisfied with our new coach. He seemed a bit plodding but it was quite methodical. Different. Not as flashy. We beat Dallas by 3x their score with not much “riskit” nor flash. It will be a new way to play the Saints and may work Here’s expecting. Go Bucs!

  6. A Says:

    I can’t pick the Bucs to beat the Saints until they do it. Doesn’t mean I won’t be cheering like hell Sunday…When the Falcons went with their power run game (Patterson) they dominated – when the Falcons sent Pressure…Winston couldn’t do anything…from an offensive stand-point would love to lean on the run / skillfully game planned run game (see 15 power runs left against Dallas)…it won’t look pretty early…but stay with it. The 5 receiver sets and let Brady find someone hasn’t worked…Send pressure – we should know how to confuse JW…just get him off his 1st read and make him think…

    Go Bucs!

  7. steele Says:

    Agree with Chris@Apple. Smashmouth, play action. But most of all, defense. Put the hurt on them. Let’s see the Bucs physically dominate them for a change.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I think it is the most fantastic thing in the world that the saints have beat the bucs several times in a row, and bucs fans still have bragging rights. Won a playoff game in your house otw to a super bowl win in ours…… you can have the regular season aints fan.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    Fantastic analytical piece Ira. You nailed it as always.

    In our past 5 match-ups, Bucs killed themselves with turnovers AND let the Saints run all over us.

    o 19 Dec 2021: LOSS 9-0
    ooo Turnovers: Bucs 2 – Saints 0 (Differential MINUS 2)
    ooo Penalties: Bucs 5 – Saints 8
    ooo Run-pass ratio: Bucs 28.8% – Saints 51.7%
    ooo TOP: Bucs 30:15 (73 plays) – Saints 29:45 (60 plays)

    o 31 Oct 2021: LOSS 36-27
    ooo Turnovers: Bucs 3 – Saints 0 (Differential MINUS 3)
    ooo Penalties: Bucs 11 – Saints 2
    ooo Run-pass ratio: Bucs 24.1% – Saints 44.4%
    ooo TOP: Bucs 26:44 (58 plays) – Saints 33:16 (72 plays)

    o 17 Jan 2021: WIN 30-20
    ooo Turnovers: Bucs 0 – Saints 4 (Differential PLUS 4)
    ooo Penalties: Bucs 7 – Saints 5
    ooo Run-pass ratio: Bucs 50.7% – Saints 41.7%
    ooo TOP: Bucs 31:31 (69 plays) – Saints 28:29 (60 plays)

    o 8 Nov 2020: LOSS 38 – 3
    ooo Turnovers: Bucs 3 – Saints 0 (Differential MINUS 3)
    ooo Penalties: Bucs 5 – Saints 3
    ooo Run-pass ratio: Bucs 40.0% – Saints 50.7%
    ooo TOP: Bucs 19:56 (46 plays) – Saints 40:04 (73 plays)

    o 13 Sep 2020: LOSS 34-23
    ooo Turnovers: Bucs 3 – Saints 0 (Differential MINUS 3)
    ooo Penalties: Bucs 9 – Saints 6
    ooo Run-pass ratio: Bucs 24.1% – Saints 51.5%
    ooo TOP: Bucs 28:37 (65 plays) – Saints 31:23 (66 plays)

    There are 2 common threads that I see:
    1 – Game winner won the Turnover Battle.
    2 – Game winner won the Run-Pass Ratio Battle.

    Todd Bowles GETS IT. This Bucs’ game plan WILL reflect that. IF the Bucs execute it the way we’re capable, we WILL win.

  10. WillieG Says:

    Bucs 2, Saints 0

  11. Robert Ernest Says:

    A team doesn’t beat another team. It’s the players and coaching. The Saints the Bucs face this weekend is not the Saints of old. Brees is gone. Payton is gone. Those are two key pieces. I recognize that Dennis Allen was the team’s defensive coordinator and thus the swap out for both the Bucs and Saints is a wash, but no way Jameis Winston beats Tom Brady. The Saints haven’t faced the new look Bucs defense before,, and as long as Brady finds a way to turn those FG into TD, we’ll be fine.

  12. stpetebucsfan Says:

    They are now clearly in the Buc’s heads. The best way to get rid of that problem is not simply to win Sunday but to CRUSH them and snatch their manhood from them.

    The Buc’s need to go all Ahnold and Conan the Barbarian!

    “To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.”

  13. Razor Ramone Says:

    I can see confused Jaboo this Sunday. Go Bucs!

  14. Ed Says:

    Turnovers are the difference. You can punt after a sack but giving the ball to an opponent is giving them points. In the playoff win the Bucs were +4 on the good side. All the other games they were -3 and one game -2.

    Take care of the ball and they should win. I listened to a podcast last night with a Saints perspective and the host was saying that the Saints picked up Latavius Murray because Kamara left Sunday’s Falcon game with sore ribs. He’s tough and probably a game day decision but if he does play the Bucs will be happy to have a tasty rack, Creole style.

  15. Timbucs2 Says:

    Joe, can you tell us what percentage of Bucs’ offensive plays were play-action? Just curious since that was a key for us under Arians but I don’t remember seeing much of it on Sunday. I could be wrong though.

  16. orlbucfan Says:

    DR, appreciate your detailed comment (as always). That turnover stat sure stands out. I watched a recording of Sunday nite’s game cos I can’t do the late nights anymore. The one thing that stood out is TB12. He was tentative, almost hesitant. I’ll bet that’s age. He pulls that routine in NOLA, Aints will eat him alive. Thank god, the defense is improving. They’ve got a major bone to pick with NOLA, Payton or no Payton, cos of all the cheating and cheap shots over the years.

  17. Ed Says:

    I just think Brady was rusty and overthrowing guys. There was a particular throw to Perriman that was really high. Evans might have caught that one but his throws had a lot of mustard on them.

    The one he threw to Perriman in the end zone was in the right place but he was double covered. Give Dallas some credit they have good DB’s. It should be different against the Saints, certainly Brady has more motivation than ever to have a great game.

  18. Goatfarmer Says:

    Sean Payton also picked the Cowboys to beat the Bucs on Sunday night, the pandering scumbag. He and Jerrah Jonesa deserve each other. Can’t wait for the epic fight when Jerrah tries to get too deep into Payton’s business when coaching the Sowgirls.

  19. SlyPirate Says:


    Cordelle Patterson ran for 120 yards, avg 5.5 per carry. Expect a lot of 4Net.
    The Bucs pass defense was a terror. Saints will run a lot, too.
    Whoever is down will throw a lot in Q4.

    This one will be tight.

  20. dbbuc711 Says:

    I want to see Bucs win but I also want it to be an epic beat-down

  21. Brazen Zebra Says:

    Time for Brady and the Bucs to turn them Saints into Aints! … as in youse guys aints gonna beat us no more! Yeh, show them Norlinz Bayou Boys who be boss. Go Julio! Throw the bomb Tom! And, make sure that Jameis dude, the 30 INT QB, throws at least 5 picks!