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3 Biggest takeaways from the Saints blowout of the Buccaneers

The New Orleans Saints utterly dominated the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here are our biggest takeaways

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In what was supposed to be one of the most anticipated matchups of the year ended up being the biggest loss in Tom Brady’s NFL career. The New Orleans Saints blew the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of the water to the tune of a 38-3 score. Drew Brees was incredibly efficient, the Saints defense looked fantastic, and New Orleans is poised not just to win the NFC South, but potentially be the best team in the NFC.

This will be a fun one to read, so let’s get to it - here are our biggest takeaways from Sunday afternoon’s game:

Brees was the best quarterback on Sunday night

Heading into Sunday Night Football all the talk was centered around Brady. The national media totally disregarded Brees, as they usually do, and he made them look the fool for it. Tampa Bay was supposed to level New Orleans and the Saints secondary was in line to get absolutely decimated. All of those are fair assumptions considering the secondary’s recent play, except Brady was sacked three times and picked off three times. It was one of the worst performances of his career. Brady was also swept by a divisional rival for the first time in career. This isn’t the AFC East anymore.

Brees on the other hand had a 135.2 rating, and a perfect passer rating of 158.3 on passes that travelled more than 10-yards through the air. His completion percentage was once again elite clocking in at just over 81%. Add the additional four touchdowns and Brees arguably had the best night of his season, especially considering the opposition. This game had us reminiscing about the 2009 matchup against the New England Patriots.

Where did this version of the Saints defense come from?

All season we have talked about how abysmal the New Orleans secondary has been. The one silver lining is that they could make a big play when it mattered most, but don’t count on them to show up the entire game. That all changed tonight.

Much of the credit can go to the Saints defensive line who pressured Brady all night and recorded three sacks and numerous other QB pressures and hits. Brady didn’t have a ton of time to go through his progressions, which made the secondary’s job that much easier. Still, Marhson Lattimore played at an elite level against Mike Evans (shocker!), Marcus Williams secured an interception, and Janoris and Malcolm Jenkins both played to the level we knew they were capable of. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention just how dominate Trey Hendrickson is becoming. Wow.

If it weren’t for a garbage time field goal then the Buccaneers would have been utterly shut out. If this New Orleans defense is the one that shows up every single week from now on then this team could be the best in the NFC. Oh, that reminds me, let’s get to the next takeaway.

The Saints are the best team in the NFC South and maybe the entire NFC

This game was supposed to be a defining moment for both teams. If Tampa Bay won then their Super Bowl dreams were all but secured in Week 9. If the Saints squeaked out an ugly win then Tom Brady and his Bucs were probably still the better team and just had an off night. So, what is the narrative now that New Orleans utterly obliterated Tampa Bay? Well, I’ll let NBC and every other major network explain that one:

The Saints went from being the team that had absolutely no chance to win this game to all of a sudden being the best team in the NFC? Well, I usually wouldn’t buy that, but with this type of performance it’s not a big reach. New Orleans must continue to play this same level of defense in order to be considered a true Super Bowl contender. Had this defense shown up against Green Bay or Las Vegas then the season’s current outlook could be very different.

Additionally, the Buccaneers, who were supposedly the best team in the NFC heading into Sunday night, were nearly defeated by the New York Giants last week. Couple that with this beat down and the race for the NFC South really shouldn’t even be close going forward.

Of course, all of this depends on the continued success and efficiency of the offense, as well as the defense showing up to play ball on gamedays. Sunday night was a phenomenal step in the right direction.

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