Well that was an exciting game, at least. In what was another roller-coaster of a game with plenty of ups and downs along the way, here are a couple that stood out.
Up: Jairus Byrd
How could the first up NOT be Jairus Byrd? The Byrdman finally had the type of game Saints fans were expecting to see regularly when he signed his big contract to come to New Orleans. Finishing the game with two INTs (tripling his total INTs in his career as a Saint), he has looked like a completely different player the last few weeks. Many fans were asking for Byrd to be cut earlier in the season, but now Saints fans have reason to think 2017 might be a big year for Jairus.
Up: Rushing Defense
Doug Martin was a last-second healthy scratch, so the Bucs used a combination of career backups Charles Sims and Jacquizz Rodgers at halfback. That duo was held to only 75 rushing yards and one TD on the game. Granted, neither back is quite the caliber of Doug Martin, but it was still a noteworthy performance in the run game. QB Jameis Winston only added 14 yards on the ground.
Up: Coby Fleener
Fans were quick to overreact to Coby Fleener’s performance early in the season, and his average play continued into the year. Fleener had games where he was completely invisible, or worse still, couldn’t hang on to balls that were thrown his way. Not last week. Fleener held on to a big pass in traffic, tacking a big hit from two defenders in the middle of the field. Hopefully this is a sign of more to come.
Down: Helping the Falcons
As great as it was to play spoiler to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New Orleans Saints victory inadvertently helped the rival Atlanta Falcons secure an NFC South title. Ask most Saints fans, and they would rather Tampa Bay win it all than Atlanta. But this is still a reach - it was a fun win, and now the Saints have the opportunity to play spoiler to the Falcons next week.