Sunday night football, division matchup, and a packed Raymond James Stadium, the Buccaneers hosted their rival New Orleans Saints. Since last season, the Buccaneers have struggled against their division foe, and those struggles continued. From the start of the game, the Buccaneers were dealt with adversity.
Since joining Tampa Bay,Tom Brady is 0-3 against the Saints. Throwing seven interceptions and a QB rating of 77 was under duress from the opening drive. The Bucs offense was not in rhythm from the start and never recovered. Then things went from bad to worse for the Buccaneers. Late in the 2nd quarter, star wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin suffered injuries and were ruled out for the remainder of the game. Then in the 2nd half, running back Leonard Fournette was ruled out with a hamstring injury.
The loss of Godwin, Evans and Fournette proved to be troublesome for Brady as he struggled severely to move the ball down the field. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had two costly drops on thrid down passes and the offensive line could not stop the pass rush. Making the night a nightmare for Brady and company.
The Buccaneers defense played well holding the Saints to three field goals, but that was it. The Saints defense picked off Brady for the eighth time in the regular season and held him to 214 yards passing. As the 4th quarter came to an end and the clock hit double zeroes, the defending Super Bowl champions were shut out at home.
The loss snaps a streak of 255 games that Tom Brady hadn’t been shut out, the last time being, December of 2006. This loss also is the first time since 1970 that a team leading the NFL in points has been shut out at home in December. It is evident that the Saints have proven to be Brady’s krytonite and they took care of business tonight.
Now at 10-4, the Buccaneers will look to finish out the season strong, and they will have to do that without Chris Godwin. Early diagnosis for the star wideout is he sprained his MCL in his knee and will have tests done tomorrow to determine the severity and timeframe when he can return. The severity of the hamstring injuries of Mike Evans and Leonard Fournette are unknown at this time. One thing is certian, this loss was a major wake up call for this team, and they will need to adapt and adjust going forward.