The New Orleans Saints got a very shocking defeat to open the year, courtesy of their NFC South rival the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 48-40 defeat saw a whole lot of errors and ugliness, as head coach Sean Payton alluded to in his post game press conference. Payton said he couldn’t think of many positives after the killer day Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bucs offense had. Here’s a few winners, losers, and honorable mentions after Week 1.
The Saints offense looked pretty stellar on the day, but did have two turnovers. Despite that, Drew Brees was dealing, going 37-of-45 for 439 yards and 3 touchdowns. Alvin Kamara accounted for three touchdowns on the day, two on the ground and one receiving. Kamara finished with 8 carries for 29 yards (2 touchdowns) and 9 receptions for 112 yards (touchdown) on 12 targets. Michael Thomas caught a team-record 16 receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown on 17 targets, but also had a fumble.
We’ll just go ahead and put the entire Saints defense here. Ryan Fitzpatrick looked like a Hall of Fame quarterback, as he helped lead the Buccaneers offense to 529 total yards. Fitzpatrick went 21-of-28 for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns, while adding 36 yards on the ground and a score on 12 attempts. The run defense couldn’t bring anyone down after first contact, and the pass rush was pretty non-existent.
Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley were torched in the secondary, along with Vonn Bell, Marcus Williams, Kurt Coleman, and Patrick Robinson. Mike Evans laughed at his last showing in the Superdome when he put up one catch for 13 yards and had himself a field day of 7 catches for 147 yards and a score. DeSean Jackson also kicked tail, hauling in 5 catches for 146 yards and two scores. Fitzpatrick went a perfect 12-of-12 when targeting both of these receivers.
Mike Gillislee’s debut in black and gold didn’t go well at all, as he carried the ball 3 times for 9 yards and lost a fumble that led to a scoop-six for the Buccaneers. He could be a quick candidate on the chopping block as early as Monday.
The fans in the stands were also losers today, because after waiting 8 months for football to return, that type of effort put out was just abysmal. It didn’t help that there were some real questionable calls made (or not made). Those who hung in there all game and saw the Saints make it interesting do deserve a special shout out.
Ted Ginn Jr. quietly had a strong day for the Saints offense, finishing with 5 catches for 68 yards and a touchdown on 6 targets. Benjamin Watson also had a decent showing for his first game back with the Saints, as caught all 4 of his targets for 44 yards. The touchdown play with Taysom Hill running a run-pass option at quarterback and Drew Brees split out as a wide receiver was pretty nifty.
Whether it was good or bad, who stood out the most to you?