In what was essentially the Buccaneers’ final chance to right the ship of the season, they failed miserably by dropping their second division game in a row, this time in New Orleans at the hands of the Saints by a score of 30-10.

The Saints won the toss and elected to take the ball first, as you would expect from a Sean Payton-Drew Brees led team. The Saints offense drove the ball down the field, converting on two-of-three third downs and got themselves into field goal range. After a 41-yard field goal by Saints kicker Wil Lutz, the home team opened the score with a 3-0 lead.

The Bucs, who were looking to change the momentum of their early offensive woes, followed the Saints’ point-scoring drive with a three-and-out. But, the drama wasn’t done there as the Bucs’ punt was blocked – their first punt that was blocked of the season. The Saints picked it up for a touchdown. But, even after that, the craziness continued as Ryan Smith then blocked the Saints’ PAT to follow. After all that, the Saints led 9-0 early in the first quarter.

The Bucs and Saints would then go back and forth with a few punts until the Saints got the ball back to start the second quarter. After a 10-play 60-yard drive that looked like it had points written all over it, Bucs cornerback Ryan Smith and linebacker Lavonte David combined to force a fumble on Saints running back Alvin Kamara to switch possessions. The Bucs then went 40 yards in 10 plays of their own to finally get on the scoreboard via the foot of Patrick Murray on a 50-yard field goal.

But, all that did was wake the Saints offense up even more. On a 7-play, 93-yard drive that included a 33-yard pass to Coby Flener and a 33-yard touchdown pass to Kamara, the Saints scored and extended their lead to 16-3 as an answer.

That’s how things went into the half.

The Bucs received the ball to start the second half, but went just three-and-out. Quarterback Jameis Winston was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick to start the second half due to his shoulder injury limiting what his arm could do. The Bucs offense looked lackluster with Winston in the game in the first half, and there was no reason further risk more injury if he couldn’t get it done in the first half, so the switch was made.

After that first three-and-out, the Saints’ rout was on. The Saints marched down the field and scored a touchdown after the Bucs punted on that first drive. They forced a fumble and recovered on the Bucs next possession after that and the Saints again scored a touchdown on that next drive as well.

Following the score going to 30-3, the Bucs frustrations started to show, and that all boiled over in the form of a throw down between Bucs receiver Mike Evans and Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Winston, who was on the sideline, tried to point and may have purposefully poked Lattimore near the sideline. Lattimore turned and got in Winston’s face, and that’s when Evans had seen enough, as he came in flying to hit Lattimore to the ground. Both team came to thew air of their guy, but it was calmed down after that. Neither player was ejected.

As you would expect with such an event after a blow out, both teams were pretty simple in what they did to follow, not wanting tensions to rise any higher in a game that was already over.

Unfortunately, there was still harm to be had in the game. After the scuffle, Bucs starting defensive end William Gholston went down with a neck injury and was carted off the field. Gholston was able to move his legs and arms, but was very still as they carted him off.

The Bucs weren’t totally willing to lay down, however, as Fitzpatrick and tight end Luke Stocker did connect on a short touchdown pass in the fourth quarter following a muffled punt by the Saints that was recovered by the Buccaneers.

But, in the end, it was meaningless and the score ended with a 30-10 final.

Jameis Winston finished the game (the half) 7-for-13 with 67 yards passing. In relief, Ryan Fitzpatrick finished the game 8-for-15 with 68 yards and a touchdown. The Bucs really struggled to get the run game going, and a big part of those struggles stemmed from the offensive line. Doug Martin started the game, but only amassed seven yards on eight carries. Peyton Barber ended up leading the team in carries and rushing yards with 34 yards on 11 carries. DeSean Jackson led the Buccaneers in receiving yards with just 25 on two catches. Mike Evans, Cameron Brate, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard all ended the game with just one catch.

On defense, Ryan Smith and Robert McClain started as the team’s outside corners while Vernon Hargreaves started in the slot. Lavonte David was the team’s best defensive player with seven tackles, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble. Smith led the team in tackles with nine.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
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Michael WestDominguez
Michael WestDominguez
4 years ago

Yet another gutless performance and quite evident both the OC/DC have no clue what the are doing scheme and play calling wise. I think it’s time for someone to be fired and for changes to be made. What concerns me the most is that it is clearly evident that this team has quit. I can hear Ray-Jay right now for the next home game…..Crickets!

Garv
Garv
4 years ago

Without doubt, a disgraceful effort by a team not ready to play football in a professional manner. No identity? Actually they DO have an identity. It’s one of losing, not showing up on Sunday’s and giving their fans nothing to cheer for. this team has been in the dumpster since halftime in Arizona and now everyone knows it. I’d shut down Jameis, start cutting the FA’s that were brought in to make the team better and have instead made it far worse and rudderless. We do NOT deserve this and it has to stop. Someone, ANYONE ask the tough question… Read more »

Mike.Seven
Mike.Seven
4 years ago

The Dirk Koetter /Jamies Winston project is a bust, again even before the injury JW looked bad had 2 delays of game penalties, Punt Punt Punt FG. The Bucs are never going to use a franchise tag on Jamies next year so its time to think about the new system. Jamies should have never been in a game with a bad shoulder that alone shows us the IQ in coaching and management of this team is below average for a third world country. I really am a Bucs fan but all of this fiasco started when they hired Lovie Smith… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
4 years ago

A complete dumpster fire. This team is crap on this top to bottom and it’s clear most of them have quit. Sit Jameis for one te rest of the season before Donavan’s smith get some him killed. That shoulder is shot and it’s just not worth it. The running game continues to be non existent. Just bench Doug Martin already, he’s as useless as ever. Play barber. The lines on both sides continue to struggle. And did I mention Donavan smith is absolutely horrible? Season over, start piling picks . Just a soft team, but hey at leaste nobody was… Read more »

Jlog
Jlog
Reply to  cgmaster27
4 years ago

Donavan didn’t play today by the way.

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
Reply to  Jlog
4 years ago

You serious? He played the entire first half.

Or are you just trolling his spelling?

David DeLeon
David DeLeon
4 years ago

I think a mid season coaching change is imminent. Has to be done! Owners have to show the player that they still care. I’m in Guam right now and it sucks to wake up at 5:30 and see the beat down we are taking. Ruins the whole day. Glazer’s make it happen get a new coaching staff and give them half a session before next year to work together

Jlog
Jlog
Reply to  David DeLeon
4 years ago

I don’t see that happening but I see where you are coming from. Releasing him and Smith could give us a nice jump in future coaching search though.

surferdudes
4 years ago

So your Q.B. has a bad shoulder, and your L.T. is struggling yet you dial up long pass plays with little time left in the half, and don’t give Smith some help? I admit Smith sucks, all the more reason to give him some chip block help, or just line a back up on that side as Jameis’s personal protector. Enough excuses for Martin. He doesn’t hit the hole hard, instead seems to stop at the line like he’s going to juke somebody only to get stopped for a loss. Any of you Martin fans notice Barber even with no… Read more »

Jlog
Jlog
4 years ago

The Bucs met my revised expectation. Shockingly Winston didn’t fumble or turn the ball over either, chalking that up to him not finishing the game though. His poor decision making was once again on full display though before he was knocked out of the game.

On serious note hope Gholston makes a speedy recovery.

pinkstob
pinkstob
4 years ago

What I saw today can be summed up with what I posted in the last Fab 5, but it was late in the day when I posted it so most probably didn’t read it. Since based on what I saw today it is just as relevant now I’ll re-post it. This is not a talented football team, at least not relative to the other teams in the NFL. It’s just plain old fashioned not. The Bucs aren’t void of talent, but their talent does not match the best teams in the league. In short, our talent level overall is average,… Read more »

Horse
Horse
4 years ago

We start over; we’ve done it many times before so as fans, here we go again. I just would like to encourage Mike Evans and Jameis Winston to apologize to the New Orleans Saint and Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans. On to the next game; I’m ready for this season to end.

stlbucsfan
stlbucsfan
4 years ago

Oh look a more accurate QB that carved us up, what a shock. I thought what we saw last week was a mirage and rest assured it was. There should be no one listed on he impressive players for the week with the exception of maybe Peyton Barber. Lavonte made some plays but was often out of his gap and apart of the problem with the defense. I see Vonn Bell making plays for the Saints and wonder how we might look with him over either of the 2nd round players we selected last year. L.Houston with a 34 yard… Read more »

macabee
macabee
4 years ago

No need to bash the Bucs – you saw it, I saw it. If one looks at the horizon, the injuries, the possible Mike Evans suspension, et al, it does not bode well going forward. I listened to the Koetter post game presser and he sounds like a beaten man with no answers, but takes all responsibility for what’s happening. We are for all intents and purposes, a rudderless ship trying to navigate a rocky coastline. This a not likely to have a happy ending, but I’m still hoping for the best. Go Bucs!

Brandonges
Brandonges
4 years ago

I’ve seen enough of this team getting outcoached in playcalling and discipline. Bring on Gruden!

Buc76
Buc76
4 years ago

The season was over on the opening drive at Arizona. Koetter smith licht are the 3 stooges. They have to go it’s just a matter of when. The surprise would be if they win another game this year. Put Winston on IR before he ends up like Andrew Luck. Pay Gruden what he wants to back. Try Derrick Brooks as GM. This team has no heart no soul.

bucballer
bucballer
4 years ago

I agree folks! Piss poor performance on all accounts! Offense play calling is awful. If ur QB has a shoulder problem…why not some roll outs, screens, pitchouts… why is he still calling plays that have him throwing down field? Why was Jamesis still on the sidelines on bench with a minute to go in half… get him back in locker room and evaluate his injury! I swear I saw Jamesis say… I just need a little time while he was sitting on bench before half! This ship is rudderless and I believe that Coach Koetter has lost the confidence of… Read more »

Amo
Amo
4 years ago

Great work Trevor. Three suggestions for this weeks Podcast song:

1- Theme from Benny Hill
2- Loser by Beck
3- Bye Bye Baby – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Amo
4 years ago

I think the theme from Benny Hill would suit this team perfectly. Haha

TBBandit
TBBandit
4 years ago

I hear alot of you clamoring for Gruden. You must’ve forgotten the finish to that season when a 9-3 team, that was almost guaranteed a playoff spot, lost four straight…including a home game to the Raiders (5-11). We sold our soul to get him (Gruden), but he wouldn’t come back to a struggling team, like the Bucs, now. It will take a good defense to right this ship and not a Gruden homecoming. I will remember Gruden for letting Lynch go to Denver and letting Alstott rot away on the bench. 20/20 Hindsight: No matter how good that OJ Howard… Read more »

tnew
tnew
4 years ago

Love you analysis as always. You do a very good job presenting the facts to support you opinions. It seems this organization is square pegging a lot of its talent. Looking back at your cover 3 article regarding blocking schemes and who we might draft was insightful regarding how the team is being built. Watching coach’s film it seems the players are often not being used to their strengths. Might make for an interesting and potentially damning look on how this team is being constructed. On paper this should not be a 2-6 team but on the field they are… Read more »