Monday Morning Saints Wrap: Buccaneers Game

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I’ll be honest, I wasn’t optimistic when Tampa Bay’s Rian Lindell lined up for a 47-yard field goal that would have given the Bucs a 17-13 lead and the Saints a bigger hole from which to climb.

But Lindell missed, and that small window was all the Saints needed.

Bucs’ coach Greg Schiano had to know what was going to happen next. The Saints had great field position and quarterback Drew Brees, who had struggled against a stout Tampa defense much of the afternoon, completed three straight passes to drive to the Bucs 9 yard line. Kicker Garrett Hartley then kicked the game-winner as time expired.

Saints 16, Bucs 14.

For the second consecutive week, the Saints defense bailed out the Saints offense. Huh? Is this some kind of bizarro football world? The defense is depleted by injuries. It’s not supposed to be playing this well. But guess what? After two weeks of football, the Saints have the 10th-ranked defense in the NFL.

Let that sink in for a second. The 10th-ranked defense. I know it’s early, but still. At no point last year did the Saints defense look anything like this. People are sacking the quarterback and intercepting passes. Plays are being made when they need to be made.

Like I said, it’s early. But the play of the defense is encouraging.

The offense will come around, but it’s great to see that when it struggles the defense is capable of making plays.

Quick thoughts:

  • Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman is coming apart at the seams. He completed 9 of 22 passes for 125 yards. His future in Tampa Bay is uncertain, as it should be.
  • The Saints ran the ball 20 times for 75 yards. Mark Ingram had 8 of those carries for 20 yards. It’s time to accept the fact that, yes, he is a first round pick, but he will never play like one. Ingram has had his chances. Bottom line: He doesn’t produce. Don’t tell me he’s a better runner than Pierre Thomas. Stop forcing me to believe it. Thomas should have more than five carries.
  • Thomas Morstead was an unsung hero. He punted four times for a 43.8 yard average with a long of 47.
  • Lance Moore needs to be more involved. He had one catch for 15 yards against the Bucs and only has 3 catches for 38 yards through two games.
  • The Bucs are the first team since the 1970 merger to lose each of their first two games on a field goal in the last 10 seconds of the game. (via Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com)
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