The New Orleans Saints hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final Divisional Round matchup. After New Orleans defeated them both times in the regular season, Tampa Bay got their revenge in a 30-20 victory to end the Saints’ season.
It was far from what Saints fans hoped for. In what was likely quarterback Drew Brees’s final game, New Orleans did everything they could to keep their dreams of sending him off into the sunset with a second Super Bowl title alive.
The Saints finished with 294 total yards of offense, 104 of which came on the ground. Running back Alvin Kamara shouldered the workload in the backfield as Latavius Murray (quad) was ruled out.
24th overall pick Cesar Ruiz played all 65 offensive snaps at guard. He and the offensive line did not give up any sacks and helped get the ground game going but allowed Brees to get pressured at times.
Third-round rookie Adam Trautman was the second-most used tight end behind Jared Cook. Trautman played 28 snaps but was not targeted.
Undrafted wide receiver Marquez Callaway saw 20 snaps but failed to haul in either of his two targets. He recorded a tackle during an interception return by Buccaneers’ and former LSU linebacker Devin White.
Third-round linebacker Zack Baun was on the field for 19 defensive snaps, his second-highest snap count of the season. He was also on special teams for 16 snaps and recorded three total tackles.
The New Orleans offense was held in check by Tampa Bay outside of Kamara’s 105 total yards. Star wide receiver Michael Thomas was held without a single catch and Brees threw three costly interceptions.
If this was truly the end for Brees, the Saints are now tasked with finding his successor. They could re-sign Jameis Winston or look at acquiring an established star. Deshaun Watson certainly comes to mind, and it’s worth considering what Houston would take for its disgruntled signal caller.
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