The Saints had not won a season opener since the first game of the 2013 season, and in 2018 it was the same old, same old story again my friend.
On Sunday in the Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans came out swinging, scoring on their first three possessions and totaling 24 points in the first half. You would think that scoring 24 points in one half would have the Saints comfortably in the lead? Think again: New Orleans’ defense allowed Tampa Bay to have just as much success, looking every bit the porous and inept unit that we have come to loathe during Sean Payton’s tenure. In the first half, the Bucs did not punt once and scored a franchise record 31 points (with seven of those coming on a Mike Gillislee fumble returned for a touchdown).
In the second half, the Saints offense suddenly became sluggish, beset by penalties, drops and a costly fumble by Michael Thomas. The Bucs found the end zone once again in the third quarter, upping their lead to 17 points in the third quarter at 41-24. The fourth quarter brought much of the same, Tampa absolutely perforating the Saints defense and scoring at will as the lead ballooned up to 24 points. New Orleans would finally get on the board with touchdowns by Alvin Kamara and two points conversions to get within eight at 48-40. But Ryan Fitzpatrick (who I’m sure was actually Tom Brady disguised as a Buccaneer) continued lighting up the Saints secondary, throwing for over 400 yards and using his feet to convert a crucial third and eleven play late in the fourth quarter.
The defense had an absolutely horrendous day, unable to put any pressure of Fitzpatrick and not much better against the run. Could it be a fluke? Next week against the Cleveland Browns should tell us very quickly where this season is likely to go: another year of shootouts where Drew Brees has to throw 50 times a game, or a season like last year, where the running game and the defense are competent enough to keep the team balanced and make them a contender. For now, and although it is just one game, the 2018 Saints are big, gigantic fraud!
Below is a timeline of the game as it unfolded, if you can stomach to read.
- Saints take the opening kickoff all the way down for a touchdown by Alvin Kamara
- NO: 7 - TB: 0
- The Buccaneers respond immediately, with DeSean Jackson for a 58-yard touchdown
- NO: 7 - TB: 7
- Saints go back down the field and have to settle for a Wil Lutz field goal
- NO: 10 - TB: 7
- Tampa Bay easily gets into Saints territory on runs by Peyton Barber
- Fitzpatrick gets into the end zone for a touchdown
- NO: 10 - TB: 14
- Saints just as quickly get into Bucs territory as the quarter ends
- This has all the makings of a shootout early!
- Brees finds Ted Ginn Jr. for a 28-yard touchdown to open the second quarter
- NO: 17 - TB: 14
- Bucs get into the Saints’ red zone in the blink of an eye
- Tampa stall and Chandler Catanzaro ties the game with a 33-yard field goal
- NO: 17 - TB: 17
- Saints go three-and-out for the first time as Brees is sacked
- Bucs dice up the defense again and move down the field with ease
- Fitzpatrick finds Chris Godwin for a touchdown
- NO: 17 - TB: 24
- With just over four minutes left in the first half, the Bucs haven’t punted yet
- Mike Gillislee fumbles the ball and the Buccaneers recover for a touchdown
- NO: 17 - TB: 31
- Saints get into Bucs territory and into the Bucs red zone
- Brees finds Michael Thomas alone in the end zone for a touchdown
- NO: 24 - TB: 31
- Buccaneers take a knee, at the half Saints are down seven
- Bucs start with the ball as they had deferred after winning the toss
- Bucs easily get into the red zone aided by Saints penalties
- Tampa stalls and settle for a 36-yard field goal
- NO: 24 - TB: 34
- Saints go three-and-out for the second time of the game and punt
- Bucs go three-and-out and punt for the first time
- Saints stall and have to punt once again
- Ryan Fitzpatrick finds Mike Evans for a 50-yard touchdown
- NO: 24 - TB: 41
- Saints get into Bucs territory, but Michael Thomas fumbles the ball away
- Bucs take over as the quarter ends
- Ken Crawley gifts the Bucs another first down on a terrible PI
- Ryan Fitzpatrick finds DeSean Jackson for a touchdown
- NO: 24 - TB: 48
- Saints drive into the Bucs red zone
- Alvin Kamara runs into the end zone for a touchdown
- Kamara converts the two-point conversion
- NO: 32 - TB: 48
- On third down, Bucs go deep and find DeSean Jackson into Saints territory
- Bucs stall while running the clock and settle for a field goal
- Catanzaro misses the field goal as the Saints take over
- Saints get into Bucs territory in two plays
- Brees finds Alvin Kamara for a touchdown
- Ted Ginn Jr. converts the two-point try
- NO: 40 - TB: 48
- The Bucs take over and run the clock, converting a big 3rd and 11 play
- Buccaneers win the game 48-40.
Who is most to blame for the Saints dismal performance?
This poll is closed
The absolutely putrid defensive effort
The offense coughing up the ball twice
Mark Ingram for taking PEDs
The football gods, they hate us on opening day