Mandatory Credit: Photo by Butch Dill/AP/Shutterstock (13400387k) Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett strips the ball form New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston during the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, . The Saints recovered the ball Buccaneers Saints Football, New Orleans, United States – 18 Sep 2022
The Saints are now 1-1 on the season after losing to the Bucs 20-10. Here are my five observations from the game:
Jameis Winston is tougher than a two-dollar steak:
Winston played well in the game with broken bones in his back. He was playing in his first game in the Superdome since tearing his ACL on Halloween last year. Did I mention he played against his former team? The same team he was injured against last year. The injury never appeared to impact Winston’s game. His mental toughness needs to be lauded as much as his physical toughness. While his play may have suffered, and the stats show it (three interceptions and a fumble), his toughness can’t be questioned.
Injuries were factor:
The Saints were missing Alvin Kamara, and Jameis was playing hurt. The Bucs had several key guys out as well. The game plans were truly impacted. Both teams had to call things differently. The Saints had to rely on Mark Ingram, Dwayne Washington, and Tony Jones Jr. at running back. The passing game took a hit also. Although Jameis played through his injury, he missed several deep throws. The Saints’ defense was relatively healthy. One could argue that Paulson Adebo could’ve helped make a difference with the pass defense.
Beef is always on the menu:
These two teams do not like each other. There’s always beef somewhere on the field. Whether it’s Marshon Lattimore and Mike Evans or Michael Thomas and Carlton Davis, this game was no different. The talk before, during, and after plays was more fun to watch than some of the plays themselves. Although I love a good defensive struggle, I enjoy the jawing back and forth just as much as anyone else. Lattimore and Evans got ejected in the 4th quarter for fighting after Evans shoved Lattimore.
Run defense returned to normal:
Last week, the run defense allowed over 200 yards on the ground. This week, the run defense held the Bucs to 73 yards on 29 carries. This looks more like the run defense the people are used to seeing from this team over the last few years. This would’ve looked much better had the offense put some points on the board. Seeing the Bucs average less than three yards per carry was a welcoming sight.
Winston to Olave will be a thing:
Winston targeted Chris Olave several times on deep passes. They couldn’t connect, but the big play ability is there. Jameis threw one of his interceptions trying to get Olave a deep pass. That one was underthrown. The other misses were overthrown. When they finally connected on one late in the 4th quarter, with the game almost over, Olave fumbled. Olave was brought in to take the top off the defense. Chemistry was a concern of mine with the pass game. Once they get that under control, this offense will take off.