The Bucs fall back down on earth in a hostile environment in New Orleans. Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater shines, tears apart Tampa Bay’s defense. Buccaneers lose 24-31.
Defense struggles mightily
It was blatantly obvious that Tampa’s defensive struggles, particularly in the secondary, continue. Unfortunately, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were not able to take advantage of the Saints having to play without their superstar quarterback Drew Brees. Backup Teddy Bridgewater looked like superman out there, completing 26 of his 34 passing attempts for 314 yards and 4 touchdowns. It was easily the best game of his career.
Furthermore, the Bucs failed to find any kind of way to at least somewhat contain Michael Thomas. Thomas had his way with Vernon Hargreaves all afternoon and finished with an incredible 11 catches for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns.
To make matters worse, for the first time this season, Tampa Bay was unable to create pressure on the opposing quarterback. Bridgewater had all day to find his targets. As a consequence, Tampa finished the game without a sack. Shaq Barrett was a non-factor in this game.
Run defense still rock-solid
On a positive note, Tampa Bay’s strong run defense showed up once again. Star running back Alvin Kamara only had 62 yards on the ground on 16 carries. He did end up hauling in another 6 receptions for 42 yards, but was held scoreless.
Moreover, rookie Sean Murphy-Bunting made the only interception of the game, the first one of his career.
Jameis Winston with decent game, offensive line struggles
While he might not have delivered an overly eye-popping stat line, Jameis Winston made the most of the few opportunities he was given in this game. Plenty of times, his targets simply were not open. As expected, Mike Evans was tightly covered all game by Marshon Lattimore, holding Winston’s favorite target catchless. The offensive line did not find a way to provide Winston time in the pocket. The Saints defense created six sacks.
On the other hand, however, Winston did have two interceptions nullified due to penalties by the Saints’ defense.
Once again, OJ Howard disappointed with only one grab for 10 yards. Cameron Brate did not fare any better and, like Howard, has been a disappointment so far this season.
Chris Godwin continues to impress
Chris Godwin was the bright spot of the Buccanners’ offense, having another monster game with 7 catches for 125 yards and two scores. He is now on pace for a record-breaking season. So far, Godwin has amassed 33 catches for a total of 511 yards and 6 touchdowns in five games. Those numbers are unbelievable.
All in all, this was a very disappointing loss after getting Bucs fans’ hopes up with a road win in Los Angeles. Needless to say, it hurts even more because it was a divisional game.
Next up is an overseas matchup with another division rival. Bruce Arians and the Bucs host the Carolina Panthers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on October 13. This is a must-win game already for the Buccaneers.
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