It is very hard to win any football game when you lose the turnover battle 0-4. An interception that set the Bucs up at the Saints 3 yard line, a costly fumble by Jared Cook that completely turned momentum, and two interceptions on the last two drives of the game, absolutely devastated the Saints chances to win.
Jared Cook following his fumble that led to a Bucs TD pic.twitter.com/SjOtfaOa8Z— ESPN (@espn) January 18, 2021
The 21 points the Bucs scored off turnovers were clearly the difference in this game, and we can only wonder what would of happened had Jared Cook not fumbled when the Saints were up 7 and driving.
Up: Tre’Quan Smith
Smith returned from IR Sunday and had his second multi-score game of the year. Scoring on a 56 yard catch on a trick play that my mother described as “one of the most fun plays I’ve ever watched in football”, and on a great catch in traffic followed by a terrific toe tap that gave the Saints a 7 point lead in the 3rd quarter. If Smith can develop more consistency, then between him, Emmanuel Sanders, and Michael Thomas, the Saints next QB could have one of the best receiving cores in the NFL.
Down: The rest of the offense
No one else on offense was able to do a whole lot on Sunday. Alvin Kamara played a pretty good game, gaining 85 yards on 18 carries, but was held out of the end zone and didn’t get a whole lot of involvement in the passing game. Michael Thomas was held without a single catch, and Jared Cook of course had a very costly fumble. Latavius Murray and Taysom Hill being out for the whole game, and Deonte Harris leaving early in the first half surly didn’t help, but we should have seen more from the Brees-Kamara-Thomas pairing in this game.
Up: Drew Brees’s legacy
Drew Brees will walk away from the game of football as the leagues all-time leading passer, and the greatest player in the history of the New Orleans Saints, a franchise he single-handedly resurrected. This of course was not the way any of us wanted it to end, but we should all be happy we got the chance to watch Drew play for the Saints for the last 15 seasons. He is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and we will likely never see another quarterback as great as he was playing for our team.
He came at a time when the city needed him most, and delivered a championship and a lifetime of memories to Saints fans around the world. As someone who does not live in New Orleans, I will never truly know just how much the success Drew Brees was able to deliver to the city meant to those who spent their entire lives in the Crescent City. But no matter where you are from, or how long you have been a part of Saints Nation, we should all take a moment to say thank-you to Drew Brees for the wonderful ride he took us all on for 15 years. Thank-you Drew!
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