Five numbers that will make you beam with glee after the Saints’ 36-27 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
2019 - Good Things Come to Those Who Wait, Part I.
One of the qualities that make Saints’ head coach Sean Payton such a great offensive play caller is how unpredictable he can be. Mind you, it is the same thing that at times will make Saints fans want to throw their remote at their TV as well. But on Sunday in the Superdome, with the facing a third and goal from the Bucs’ one-yard line, Payton designed a play for his fullback Alex Armah Jr. Nope, not a play for Alvin Kamara, or Mark Ingram, or Marquez Callaway: a play for Armah Jr. who scored his first NFL touchdown since September 8, 2019. Armah was then a Carolina Panther and had a grand total of three career touchdowns until the score on Sunday afternoon.
2018 - Good Things Come to Those Who Wait, Part II.
Oh yeah, this is a theme today, and next on the list is wide receiver Kevin White. White was drafted 7th overall by the Chicago Bears in the 2015 NFL draft. In four years in Chicago, injuries derailed his career so much that he sat out all of 2015, played only four games in 2106, one single game in 2017 and nine games in 2018, a year after which the Bears released him. It is also the last year White recorded a regular season catch in the NFL, a single catch for 6 yards on October 28, 2018, against the New York Jets. The following three years, White would play in only three games with the San Francisco 49ers in 2020, recording no catches. That all ended on Sunday afternoon, when the Saints used their first play of the second half to target White on a simple “go” route down the right sideline, and he beat Bucs’ corner Pierre Desir for a 38-yard reception all the way down to Tampa’s 37-yard line.
2017 - Good Things Come to Those Who Wait, Part III.
Let’s complete the trifecta: the most amazing thing about this Saints’ win over the Buccaneers is just how many unsung heroes played a key role, especially on the offensive side of the ball. One of the biggest heroes was undeniably third-string-turned-starting quarterback Trevor Siemian, who had to step in for Jameis Winston who left the game with a torn ACL in his left knee in the second quarter. Siemian had last thrown a touchdown pass in an NFL regular season game on December 10, 2017, as the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos. The score was against the New York Jets and was also the last touchdown he would throw for the Broncos as he was released two games later. Nearly four years later, Siemian could once again celebrate throwing the ball for a touchdown in an NFL stadium when he found Alex Armah Jr., as both players made a bit of history for themselves.
7 - Picking off the Goat.
Tom Brady is the best quarterback that ever lived, he is the GOAT, the man with seven Super Bowl rings and the uncanny ability (and luck) to lead his team to victory in games that appeared all but lost. The 28-3 erased deficit against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI comes to mind. Brady moved to Tampa Bay in 2020 and as such found himself in the Saints’ division, having to face New Orleans twice every season. So far in his Buccaneers tenure, Brady is 0-3 against the Saints in the regular season, having thrown 6 touchdowns, against 7 interceptions. By contrast, in 19 regular season games with Tampa Bay against teams not named New Orleans Saints, Brady has thrown 59 touchdowns against only 9 interceptions. In other numbers, in the regular season, Buccaneer Brady has thrown 2.33 INT/game against the Saints, while throwing 0.47 INT/game against all other teams. Unsurprisingly, the only time that Brady managed to beat the Saints as a Buc was in last year’s divisional playoff game, when he did not throw a single pick, while passing for two touchdowns. It appears New Orleans’ defense has Brady’s number when it comes to the regular season. Here’s hoping that they can bottle this formula for when the tournament starts.
152 - Stop Us If You Can
An underrated part of the Saints victory over the Buccaneers on Sunday was New Orleans’ running game. The Bucs came into the game as the top rushing defense in the NFL in terms of total rushing yards, allowing only 78 yards-per-game. More importantly, Tampa was also fourth in rushing yards-allowed-per-play with 3.92. Yet, the Saints came in and rushed the ball 32 times against a vaunted front that features players like Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh. New Orleans averaged 4.8 yards per rush and tallied 152 yards. While 40 of those came from Jameis Winston’s scrambling exploits, New Orleans’ other significant rushing contributions came from Alvin Kamara (62), Mark Ingram (27) and Deonte Harris (22). Play good defense and rush the ball: a formula that has worked well in January, especially in the elements. With the Saints currently a Wild Card team and likely bound to play outdoors in the playoffs, this is a very good sign.
How far can the Saints go without Jameis Winston?
This poll is closed
They can make it to the Super Bowl, playing defense and running the ball!
They can make it to the NFC Championship game, but they will lose there.
They can make it to the divisional round of the playoffs, but no further.
Wild Card and out, the team needs a franchise quarterback.
They might not even make the playoffs at all.
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