Well that one stung, didn’t it? The New Orleans Saints continue their putrid record in Week 1 games.
But 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: Drew Brees
Drew Brees deserved to win this game.
He finished the game 37/45 for 439 yards, 3 TDs, a two-point conversion, and no interceptions. He nailed short throws and intermediate throws, and still showed plenty of zip on the ball.
After the Saints traded for Teddy Bridgewater to possibly fill in as the QB of the future in New Orleans, as early as next season, Drew Brees is putting to bed the talks that he doesn’t have anything left in the tank.
Up: Alvin Kamara
He couldn’t really get anything going in the running game consistently (with only 29 yards), but he did finish the game with 141 total yards of offense and 3 scores.
He showed multiple times why he was the 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year, looking every bit as explosive and elusive as he was in 2017. Multiple times he looked like he was going to be cornered for a loss or minimal gain, but he would just turn on the jets and fight for extra yards.
On the other hand, he did show that running between the tackles is still not his strong suit, so it will be interesting to see how Kamara is used going forward.
Down: the rest of the Saints offense
As great as Kamara and Brees were in this game, the rest of the Saints offense left a lot to be desired.
The Saints struggled to find running room as a team, feeling the effects of Mark Ingram’s suspension, rushing for only 43 total yards in the game. Cameron Meredith was inactive. Tre’Quan Smith was targeted once with zero catches. Michael Thomas, for as great a stat line as he put up in the game (180 receiving yards and a TD), he had two critical mistakes in the game. He dropped an easy completion for a first down that ended up resulting in a Saints punt and points for the Bucs, and then later lost a costly fumble that, again, resulted in points for the Bucs. Mike, you’re better than this.
And speaking of “Mike’s,” Mike Gillislee - you’ve already been cut from one team for fumbles. Don’t make it another.
Down: the entire Saints defense
I honestly cannot think of anything the Saints defense did well in this game. They generated absolutely no pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick (with zero sacks and only two QB hits). They struggled to stop the run. There were multiple botches in coverage. They couldn’t turn the ball over.
All in all, it was an absolutely terrible showing for what is supposed to a promising group of defensive players.
Go get ‘em next week, boys.