The Saints redeemed their miserable performance as they defeated the Buccaneers 34-17 in Tampa. They got back into to what worked before and that was overall team play. The offense was able to flourish on the ground and through the air. The defense put up another elite performance. Special teams also held their own in hidden yardage. Let us dive into the film and see how the Saints were able to complete the sweep:
Keep That Clock Rolling
The Saints were averaging around 33 minutes in time of possession per game. They hit well over that mark with 37 minutes exactly in this game. The majority of that time came in the first half as the Bucs had the ball for less than two minutes in the first quarter. Also, they only had it for a little over six minutes in the second quarter. This is the type of game plan that wins football games. When you control the clock, you wear down the opposing defense, keep yours off the field and make it harder for the opponent to come back.
Can’t Run On Us
The Bucs came into this game as the second best run defense and the Saints were fifth. However, the Black and Gold once again shut down the run. Tampa only came up with 36 yards on the ground with Jameis Winston being their lead rusher with 23 of them. Although the Bucs were playing catch up majority of the game, it just shows how great this front seven has been for the past several years. Malcom Brown has been a big part of that this year, staying consistent thus far. The Saints’ run defense only keeps improving game by game and it is great to see.
Back In The Saddle
Alvin Kamara had been banged up the last few weeks with knee and ankle injuries. This time around, he seemed to be back in his true form. He finished the day with 75 yards on 13 carries and 47 yards on 10 receptions. The one concern I had was Latavius Murray not getting more touches throughout the game. He is a solid workhorse who thrives when he gets almost 20 touches a game. Hopefully, we can see more of that as the season progresses. Nonetheless, Kamara and Murray were solid and should only improve down the stretch.
Picks On Picks On Picks
We all know that Winston is capable of turning over the football. The Saints picked him off four times in incredible fashion. Demario Davis got the first one after OJ Howard could not hold on to a pass. Vonn Bell captured his first career pick just before halftime after a tip from Kiko Alonso, who had a stout performance. Marcus Williams was gifted an interception as the pass went straight to him and took all the way for a touchdown, which was also the first of his football career including college. Lastly, PJ Williams made a great read to pick off the ball in the end zone in front of Mike Evans to seal the victory.
No Lattimore, No Problem
Marshon Lattimore missed this game with a hamstring injury. No matter, the Saints defense were able to hold it down with their star corner. Eli Apple and PJ Williams did a fantastic job shutting down Evans and Chris Godwin, who came in as two of the top five in receiving yards. The first half they combined for only one catch for 10 yards and were not factors in the second half until it was too late. This goes to show that this defense is just like the offense when it comes to next man up mentality.
It was another great team win. This victory got the Saints back on track with only six games left in the season. Momentum has to be carried over to next week as they have a home match-up against the Panthers. That will be the third straight division and first against Carolina. They will be coming in fighting for their playoff and division lives so I expect them to come out and compete. The Saints shall no longer take any opponent for granted despite their record. Who Dat!