In the latest chapter of the Buccaneers versus the Saints, fans truly got their money’s worth in what was a defensive slugfest with plenty of emotions at play.
Fans can always expect games between these two opponents to be emotional and high-energy. In the eyes of some, it is the most heated rivalry currently in the NFL. Yes, the Falcons and the Saints have bad blood. But that’s been a one-sided affair for years. The Bucs have bested the Saints when it mattered the most in the 2021 playoffs.
However, aside from that one game, the Bucs were 1-7 going into Sunday’s contest in the Big Easy. The Saints have played big brother in this relationship for quite some time. Seemingly beating on the Bucs at will. Sunday was a change of tone. Little brother stood up.
Coming out of half time the score was 0-3. The game seemed to be in favor of the Saints. An already depleted Bucs roster saw Akiem Hicks and second-team tackle Josh Wells leave the game with injuries. Down to their third-string tackle and an out-of-sync offense, it seemed like this edition of the Bucs vs the Saints would go down like the recent matchup history. Close but just not enough.
That was until tempers flared. In what looked like could have been a defensive pass interference against Marshon Lattimore the Buccaneers failed to convert on yet another third down. An already heated Tom Brady didn’t take too kindly to this no-call and was signally for a flag to be called. Lattimore decided to let the Buccaneers sideline know how he felt about this play also. Jawing the team as he passed by. This led to a face-to-face confrontation with the GOAT. The Bucs were not having any of that.
First Leonard Fournette shoved Lattimore he wasn’t letting anyone mess with his quarterback. Then when Mike Evans saw the exchange, it was nothing short of a shark smelling blood in the water. Like a heat-seeking missile, Evans launched himself into the confrontation from the sideline and leveled Marshon Lattimore. What ensued was an all-out brawl between the two teams.
Lattimore and Evans have their history. And they’ve had incidents like this in the past. However, this one felt different. This didn’t necessarily feel like a lashing out of emotions. It felt more like a statement. “We aren’t taking this from you anymore” felt like the message being sent.
As a result, both Lattimore and Evans were ejected from the game. However, what ensued on the field was an energized Bucs team rattling off 20 unanswered points behind Tom Brady and a stout Buccaneers defense. The defense never flinched even when the Saints seemed to be picking up steam and marching the ball down the field. Forcing a fumble on what was a 9-play, 64-yard drive. This would be the first of 5 second-half turnovers that sank the nail in the Saints’ coffin Sunday afternoon.
Sunday’s contest delivered in every aspect. Emotion, controversial calls, hard hits. Truthfully, I think both sides believe they watched a hard-fought game. However, for Bucs fans, this one just meant more.
For more on this and everything Buccaneers check back here hourly at BucsReport.com.