In the third match-up of the season for a heated rivalry between Tampa Bay and New Orleans, the Bucs were able to come out victorious and clinch a spot in the NFC Championship against Green Bay for next week. Tampa Bay’s win came in large part due to their defense, including an interception from Sean Murphy-Bunting in the second quarter on a pass intended for Michael Thomas that ultimately led to a touchdown and the Bucs’ first lead of the night.
Murphy-Bunting was asked about how it felt for him and his fellow defensive backs to hold the two-time All-Pro Thomas without a catch in Sunday’s game and he paused for a moment.
“We just played ball,” Murphy-Bunting said with a smile. “We just played ball, man. I’m not the type to be doing the back-and-forth, he said, she said thing.
“But I took it to heart when I’m in pregame and I’m sitting on the bench and he’s walking down the sideline mean-mugging me three or four times. I don’t say much, but when you do something like that it’s like you’re trying me as a man. Now with all that taunting stuff that he does, all that muscles up and all that, he didn’t do it one time this game. I’m not going to sit here and trash talk anybody because he’s a really, really good receiver, a really good catch radius, he’s very talented. But at the end of the day you’re not going to try me as a man, you’re not going to try any of my guys as a man. We’re going to battle and that’s it.”
The Bucs held Thomas to zero catches on four targets on Sunday night, locking down the Saints star receiver for the third time this season. Unlike the first two games, this time the strategy added a victory to the result.