The Buccaneers surrendered 307 yards and four touchdowns to Saints QB
Drew Brees and 149 yards on the ground to the New Orleans rushing
attack, led by Mark Ingram, who had 90 yards and a touchdown. What game
grades did each unit receive? Find out in this Pewter Report article.
Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's defense played at New Orleans against QB Drew Brees in the Bucs' disheartening, 41-0 loss to the Saints, and dishes out the game grades for each defensive unit and the Bucs special teams.DEFENSIVE LINE
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees was only sacked once and hit just five times by Tampa Bay defenders. Defensive end Da’Quan Bowers recorded his third sack of the season, dropping Brees for a 9-yard loss, but that was it. Bowers finished with one tackle and a tackle for loss against the Saints.
Defensive end Michael Bennett was the leading tackler along the defensive line along with reserve under tackle Lazarius Levingston. Both had two tackles and a tackle for loss. Starting under tackle Gerald McCoy was constantly double-teamed and was held to just one tackle, although he did have three of the Bucs’ five hits on Brees.
Reserve lineman Daniel Te’o-Nesheim only had one tackle, as did defensive end Aaron Morgan. Nose tackle Roy Miller had zero tackles against the Saints, as did his backup, Gary Gibson.
The defensive line didn’t do a great job against the run as the Saints rushed for 149 yards and averaged 6.0 yards per carry on the league’s top-ranked rushing defense. Mark Ingram rushed for 90 yards on 14 carries (6.4 avg.) and a touchdown with two runs of 20 yards or more.GRADE = FLINEBACKERS
Rookie weakside linebacker Lavonte David had seven tackles and one tackle for loss, and wasn’t his dominant self against the Saints. David was beaten for a touchdown catch by running back Darren Sproles right before halftime and didn’t play his best football in New Orleans.
Middle linebacker Mason Foster made plays early in the first half and finished with six tackles, but his play tapered off in the second half.
Strongside linebacker Adam Hayward had four tackles on Sunday, including a tackle for loss. Most notably, Hayward got into a pushing match with front seven coach Bryan Cox on the sidelines as he was trying to calm Cox down.
The linebackers missed some tackles and some run fits and played a role in the Saints rushing for 149 yards. GRADE = DDEFENSIVE BACKS
Strong safety Mark Barron led the team with 10 tackles and probably had his best game in two months. Barron had eight solo stops and a big pass break up when he hit Graham across the middle, separating the tight end from the ball. Barron was physical all game and also saved a touchdown by pushing Ingram out of bounds after a long run.
The only big knock on his game on Sunday was a 40-yard pass interference penalty in which he was reading Joseph Morgan’s eyes instead of the ball. Barron hit Morgan a second before the ball got there and it resulted in a big penalty instead of a pass breakup.
Free safety Ronde Barber had a solid, but unspectacular game against New Orleans. He finished the game with seven tackles, but did not make any splash plays as we have been accustomed to seeing.
Reserve safety Ahmad Black had a pass breakup on a pass thrown to Graham in the first half to force a field goal. However, he also gave up a touchdown to Lance Moore as the receiver caught the ball uncontested right in front of him in the end zone.
Veteran cornerback E.J. Biggers gave up a 34-yard touchdown to Morgan and did not make any plays on the ball. He finished with three tackles and allowed receivers to catch the ball in front of him.
Cornerback Danny Gorrer got his first NFL start in place of Leonard Johnson, but did not impress. He notched four tackles, while Johnson got two playing in a reserve capacity. Neither Gorrer nor Johnson got a hand on a Brees pass all day.
Nickel cornerback Anthony Gaitor had three tackles at New Orleans and also had a pass breakup.
Brees completed 26-of-39 passes for 307 yards and four touchdowns against the Tampa Bay defense, which was powerless to stop him. Tampa Bay only had three pass breakups out of 39 pass attempts, which is very disappointing and won’t get the job done. The Bucs defensive backs spent too much time allowing Saints receivers to catch the ball and not enough time breaking up passes. GRADE = FSPECIAL TEAMS
Buccaneers rookie safety Keith Tandy provided the game’s lone highlight for the team, rushing for an 18-yard gain on a fake punt to convert a fourth down to start the third quarter. Tandy’s 18-yard run was the longest rush of the day for Tampa Bay.
Bucs return man Roscoe Parrish had a 39-yard punt return in the first half, which was the longest of the season for the Buccaneers. He also averaged 21 yards per kickoff return on three attempts.
Punter Michael Koenen averaged 48.8 yards per punt with a 39.3 net average. Koenen had a long of 58 and did not have any touchbacks or punts downed inside the 20.
Darren Sproles had a big 37-yard punt return to get New Orleans into Tampa Bay territory just before halftime. The Saints would score a touchdown thanks to great field position by Sproles.
Tampa Bay kicker Connor Barth did not attempt a field goal on Sunday.GRADE = B-
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