National Football League

Springing a Leak

November 9

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't just lose to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night, they got demolished to the tune of a 38-3 final score.

Even head coach Bruce Arians couldn't find a silver lining after the blowout, conceding Sean Payton, Drew Brees and the rest of the Saints had Tampa Bay's number in every aspect of the game.

The box score hammers home Arians' point.

The Saints outgained the Bucs by 226 total yards, and New Orleans had 27 first downs compared with Tampa's 13. The Saints had 37 rushing attempts for 138 yards; the Bucs mustered five rushes for eight yards. 

Time of possession favored New Orleans by a whopping 40:04 to 19:56 ... the list goes on.

Basically, Arians wasn't being hyperbolic when he said every phase.

For Nick Wright, the loss revealed a lot about Tampa Bay's Jekyll-and-Hyde-like offense:

"Can Tampa's offense sustain itself in the face of any pressure on the passer whatsoever? ... It looks like there's the Tampa offense with a clean pocket [and] Brady with time. And a totally different version of that team if you can get to Tom Brady and create some pressure."

The Saints frustrated Brady all evening, racking up a quartet of three-and-outs and an interception on the first five drives for the Buccaneers.

Brady completed just 57.9 percent of his passes for 209 yards and zero touchdowns, while racking up three interceptions and getting sacked three times. He was also hit 12 times, and his passer rating of 40.4 registered as the third-lowest of his career.

For ESPN's Dan Orlovsky, a former NFL QB, it was an ugly showing all around and a referendum on how important it is for the Bucs to keep Brady off the turf:

"The reality is this, guys. Brady is Tampa Bay's crown jewel. If you do not protect your crown jewel, you don't have a chance. You're not good enough as a coaching staff. ... This is two weeks in a row [Bruce Arians and] Byron Leftwich, where your gameplan has stunk. It has to get better."

While there's plenty to address on the offensive side of the ball, there's also the defense to consider. 

Much like he did in a Week 1 win against the Buccaneers, Drew Brees carved apart Tampa Bay's defense, but to an even greater degree on Sunday night.

Brees finished with a passer rating of 135.2, chucking up four touchdowns and completing 81.3 percent of his passes for 222 yards.

As star Tampa Bay linebacker Shaquil Barrett put it after the contest, the Buccaneers were flailing on defense.  

Skip Bayless says there's no denying Brady struggled against the Saints, but the Undisputed cohost is calling on the defense to shoulder the bulk of the blame.

"While Tom was having a bad night, to me, the defense had a worse night, given their standing, their status, their rating. They came in ranked by Pro Football Focus the No. 2 defense in pro football. They didn't get just shredded, they got embarrassed, they got humiliated, they got blown off their own field."

For the Bucs, there's seemingly little sense to dwell on the loss. As Arians pointed out, in a very Bill Belichick-esque refrain, Tampa Bay's focus is shifting to Week 10 against the Carolina Panthers.

But before they travel to Bank of America Stadium, Tom and Tampa will have to patch up quite a few holes ⁠— and fast.


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