The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the New Orleans Saints Sunday. Repeat that in your head over and over until it sinks in. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Saints, not to the referees, not to the noise of the Superdome, but to the Saints.
The team in red and pewter was manhandled from the opening series. Again, not by the refs but by the Saints. The Saints pass rush beat the Buccaneers offensive line like a drum.
When Jameis Winston dropped back to pass, it was two seconds and then run for your life. Time and time again we saw the Saints defensive line living in the Buccaneers backfield. Each time the Buccaneers attempted to pass, the first thing you could hear after the snap was “LOOKOUT!!”. The swinging gate that has become Demar Dotson was on full display all day Sunday. Dotson spent more time on the ground than engaged in his blocks. This is something that has to change immediately. Do you know whose fault it wasn’t? The refs.
Mike Evans is arguably a top three, if not the best, all-around wide receiver in the league. He was shut down Sunday, nonexistent. Do you know whose fault that wasn’t? The refs. The Buccaneers have two of the top 10 best tight ends in the league. They combined for two catches for 21 yards. Any idea whose fault that is? I can assure you it’s not the refs.
The Buccaneers came into Sunday’s game with one of the best pass rushes in the league. Led by NFC Defensive Player of the Month, Shaq Barrett, the Buccaneers posted zero sacks. That’s zero, none, zilch, nada. Do you know whose fault that was? Again, not the refs.
The New Orleans Saints are coming off a stellar 2018 season; one that saw them reach the conference championship game. To not acknowledge them as the reason the Buccaneers lost is ridiculous. To blame the refs for the loss is low hanging fruit.