The Bucs were within one score late in Sunday’s game against the Saints. They didn’t deserve to be.
The Bucs put up a lot of empty yards trying to come from behind late, but at one point Tampa only had six first downs to 22 for New Orleans. The Saints averaged seven yards–per-carry on 28 runs, splitting up the work between Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas, and Darren Sproles.
Tampa had no answer for New Orleans’ runs or screen game. Darren Sproles had 99 yards on only nine touches, including five catches. Drew Brees usually had all day to throw, and mostly played it safe finding open guys underneath.
The Bucs, now 4-4, have to be worried about Josh Freeman. New Orleans lost cornerback Tracy Porter right away and cornerback Patrick Robinson for a while.
Tampa still couldn’t convert in the passing game. The Bucs receivers can’t separate and Freeman’s decision making and accuracy was spotty. New Orleans’ shaky defense held up for most of this game.
The Bucs look like a mediocre team. The Saints are up and down, but at 6-3 they have created some separation from Tampa in the NFC South.
We think the division comes down to Atlanta and New Orleans, just like last year. Next week’s game in Atlanta looms large.
If the Saints offensive line plays like this again, they should be in good shape.