The Good: Defense
The New Orleans Saints defense held Mr. Bundchen and the Buccaneers to 0 points in the first half and allowed just 3 points until the officials decided to take over the game. A recovered fumble, a 4th and 1 stop in the redzone, and three straight punts were how the Saints defense started against the Bucs until they finally allowed them to get into field goal range. Even on the Bucs go-ahead touchdown drive they forced a 4th down and a 3rd and 8 that were wiped out by very questionable penalties. The defense looks like they are right after their early struggles against the Falcons last week, and linebacker Pete Warner looks like a breakout star.
The Bad: Offense
Despite the defense holding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to 3 points through 3 quarters, the offense was unable to put them away as every drive after the opening one stalled until the Saints found the end zone too late in the fourth quarter. Yes, the officials involved themselves way too much, but if we’re being honest this shouldn’t have been a game at the point where the refs ruined the game. The Saints offense was flat, and Jameis Winston was unable continue his play from the fourth quarter of the Falcons game last week. Yes, they did not have Kamara, but with these WRs they should have been able to manage more than 10 points. An incredible costly fumble by Mark Ingram was the beginning of the end for the Saints, and three fourth quarter interceptions by Jameis sealed the deal. Hopefully Jameis’ struggles were due to his injury, because if not then Andy Dalton may start getting looks at taking over the starting role.
The Ugly: Officiating
The NFL has to get their officials under control. The fact that Marshon Lattimore was given the same punishment as Mike Evans for putting his hand in Leonard Fournette’s face (after Fournette pushed him), is completely inexcusable and wrong. Lattimore is more valuable to the Saints defense than Evans is to the Bucs offense, so the fact that the Saints came out the losers in that brawl is absurd.
Two awful penalties kept the Bucs game winning drive alive, one a helmet to helmet hit that involved little to no helmet-to-helmet contact, and the other a holding call on a defensive lineman engaged with a blocker. Yes, the Saints should have put this game away long before all this nonsense started, and I’m not blaming the refs for the loss, but when officials consistently get calls this wrong and make this many bad decisions then change needs to happen. Shawn Hochuli and his crew should be ashamed of themselves. Rant over.
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