Week 1 Bucs vs Saints Instant Reaction
Week 1 of the 2018 NFL Season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has come and gone. The Buccaneers headed to New Orleans to take on Drew Brees and the Saints. The game was listed as a sure “win” for the Saints. The Buccaneers had something to say about that.
Lets dive in to the positions and recap the game
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 417 yards going 21 for 28 and 4 passing touchdowns. He also had 12 rushes for 36 yards and a rushing touchdown. His passer rating was damn near perfect at 156.3. This was by far the greatest game of Fitzpatrick’s career. Every time he stepped back to throw, it was crisp. Ryan Fitzpatrick should be the NFL Player of the week. His most important play would end up being the 3rd down scramble that sealed the win.
Drew Brees threw for 439 yards going 37 for 45 and 3 passing touchdowns. His passer rating was 129.5. This is expected from a Quarterback who is a first ballot Hall of Famer. He picked apart the Buccaneers secondary. Especially picking on the rookies like Carlton Davis. With passes across the middle to Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas a lot too. Drew Brees always seems to light up the Buccaneers every single season. This game was no different.
Peyton Barber ran 19 times for 69 yards. He didn’t get a touchdown but the way the offense was moving through the air I didn’t feel he needed too. There was a few runs where he was stopped in the backfield and broke through the line for solid gains. He is the Buccaneers clear number one RB and he has earned it. Jacquizz Rodgers ran the ball two times and Shawn Wilson got a rush in but majority of the carries went to Barber. Take note Ronald Jones (2018 2nd round pick) was inactive for this game as a healthy scratch.
With Mark Ingram suspended, Alvin Kamara ran eight times for twenty-nine yards and two touchdowns. He also scored a two point conversion. Alvin Kamara wasn’t focused on in the rushing game as much as the passing games. In the passing game, Kamara had 9 catches for 112 yards and 1 touchdown. This was a major impact he had on the game. Mike Gillislee had 3 carries for 9 yards and fumbled on 1 of those carries in result for a Buccaneers defensive touchdown.
Mike Evans had seven catches for one-hundred-forty-seven yards and one touchdown. What caught attention pre-season was that there was a lot of chatter going on about the Lattimore vs Evans matchup and it clear like Evans won that matchup. Desean Jackson had five catches for one-hundred-forty-six yards and two touchdowns. The deep ball connection between Fitzpatrick and Jackson seemed to work this game. Chris Godwin had three catches for forty-one yards and one TD. Those three were responsible for Fitzpatrick’s four touchdown passes. OJ Howard got in on the action as well with two catches for fifty-four yards and Adam Humphries had three catches for twenty-seven yards. Humphries had a 60+ yard reception negated due to a penalty at the end of the first half.
Mike Thomas broke a Saints record with sixteen catches. He also had 180 yards and 1 TD. Thomas and Kamara were the main targets that Brees threw the ball to and it shows on the stat sheet. Ted Ginn also got in on the action as well with 5 catches for 68 yards and 1 TD. Tight-end Benjamin Watson had 4 catches for 44 yards near the end of the game.
The Buccaneers Offensive Line was impressive against the Saints. Ryan Fitzpatrick was sacked 0 times and hit twice. This line was revamped this offseason with the addition of Ryan Jensen and moving Ali Marpet back to guard. Donovan Smith was injured in practice during Training Camp and a lot of people thought he would be out a while. He played & did not miss a step. This combination seemed to work all preseason and it definitely worked Week 1.
The Saints Offensive Line was not as impressive even though they allowed just one sack on Drew Brees. The Buccaneers were able to pressure Brees majority of the game with five QB hits and those forced him to step up in the pocket.
The Buccaneers Defensive Line was revamped this off-season as well with the additions of Vinny Curry, Beau Allen, Mitch Unrein, and Jason Pierre Paul. They added Carl Nassib on the waiver wire due to losing Unrein on injured reserve for the first 8 games. Jason Pierre Paul and Vinny Curry seemed to be around Brees a lot even if it won’t show up on the stat sheet. The D Line did not allow many rushing yards and that seems like an improvement from last season.
The Saints Defensive Line did not get a lot of pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick. He was almost untouchable today due to the blocking from the Buccaneers Offensive Line. I didn’t hear Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Rankins names but a few times this game.
Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David each had nine tackles. Alexander also forced a fumble on Mike Thomas in the third quarter. Adarius Taylor also had a tackle. Their coverage on Alvin Kamara and Mike Thomas across the middle was suspect at times but they settled down later on in the game. If this game was any indication, Alexander and David will have huge numbers tackling wise. Always expect big from them
The Saints Linebackers combined for fourteen tackles. Demario Davis was the leader with eight, Manti Teo had four, and AJ Klein had two. The Buccaneers rarely threw across the middle this game as they utilized the outside and deep balls. The majority of their tackles came through run support.
The Buccaneers secondary has some work to do. Although they were without Brent Grimes this game which meant Carlton Davis and M.J Stewart would get a lot of playing time in their first NFL games. Davis had a hard time covering Mike Thomas as he had 180 receiving yards. It was his first NFL game so it’s going to take a little bit of time to adjust to the NFL speed. Vernon Hargreaves the third forced a fumble in the second quarter which was returned for a touchdown by safety Justin Evans. Overall, I think our safety play was solid as Brees never had a deep ball go past them. The longest passing plays were across the middle against our zone defense. The secondary definitely needs to communicate better as giving up 439 yards and three touchdown won’t fly when our Offense isn’t scoring.
The Saints secondary looked absolutely lost out there today. The Buccaneers exploited this secondary for three deep ball touchdowns and it looked like they had never played together before. Lasts year’s hype was too much. Marshon Lattimore was the Defensive Rookie of the Year last season but today he looked lost against Mike Evans. Ken Crawley just let Desean Jackson fly past him deep. The safeties were nowhere to be found.
The Buccaneers didn’t punt the ball but one time the entire game. This is how good the Offense played all game long. The single punt by Bryan Anger went for 42 yards inside the 25 yard line. Chandler Catanzaro attempted 3 Field Goals and was successful on 2 of them. The sole miss was from 44 yards late in the 4th quarter. This kick could’ve iced the game as the Bucs were up 16 points with around 4 minutes to go. Catanzaro isn’t perfect but I predict he is going to be just fine.
The Saints were forced to punt the ball 3 times for a total of 156 yards. Will Lutz attempted 1 Field Goal and was successful on the kick from 36 yards out.
The Buccaneers and Saints combined for 88 points. The Buccaneers scored 48 points tying the franchise record set 3 other times (vs. Atlanta 9/13/1987, vs. New Orleans 12/23/2001, and Super Bowl XXXVII vs. Oakland 1/26/2003).
We saw this lethal offensive attack in the preseason but were unsure if it would translate to the regular season. With Todd Monken calling plays, the stats put up today show that our Offense will be just fine. The Bucs won’t put up 48 games every single game but at-least we know they are capable of it. This was a huge division win to start to season. It is always the greatest when it comes to breaking down the tiebreakers later on in the year. It’ll all connect. Our Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 1-0 and on to the Philadelphia Eagles for Week 2 and our home opener next sunday.
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