It was not a happy day when we got demolished by New Orleans, the second time (losing 38 to 3 on Nov. 8) of course was probably the worst defeat Brady has had in his career, and it guaranteed we would lose the division. How many times have teams come back from that kind of beating from a division rival only to get revenge in the playoff and go on to win the Superbowl? I’d venture to say that’s never happened before. I guess that’s one of the things that makes this Superbowl season so surreal (Covid and no fans of course being others). Nobody was talking Superbowl on November 9th. You know there were other things on the agenda, such as who should retire, who should get fired and so forth.
I don’t think you can fully mentally process this Superbowl season without trying to figure out how the Bucs were able to rebound from that Nov. 8 loss to steamroll through the season, shut down the Saints and win the Superbowl.
IMO, that game might’ve been a huge motivation for the playoff game in New Orleans, but the most important game was the first game against the Falcons in Atlanta. The turning point of the season was the second half of that game. They have just come off a three game home stand with two losses to the Rams and Chiefs and eeking out a win against the non-playoff Vikings. Now here they are in Atlanta and against a 4 win team, they are down 17-0 at the half.
Like I said in another thread, I don’t know what was said in that locker room but whatever it was lit a fire under their asses. They came back to win that game and didn’t lose again the rest of the season.
It was one of the most disappointing performances by any NFL team considering the importance of the game, the build up prior to the game, and it being in prime time. But it’s like anything else. You can bring your very best golf game to the golf course and suddenly you’re not able to play worth a shit. You can prepare for a presentation and have it go absolutely flat. You can follow your packing list and then 50 miles down the road you realize you forgot an essential item. I think that game was just one of those days when nothing was going to go right, and you just shrug your shoulders, try to learn from it, and put it behind you. I think that’s what the Bucs did. And yes, it was REAL SWEET revenge in the playoffs. I’ve watched the second half about 5 times now and it never gets old watching the Bucs squash the Saints in a very meaningful game.
The first game against them meant nothing as it was week 1 but that second game was such a beat down that the playoff win vs them is a bit perplexing. I want to say that a few things led to it. One being that Brees just didn’t have the arm strength any more to go down field and that made them a little more one dimensional in the passing game and we did a good job taking advantage of that. As we knew they would dink and dunk their way down the field.
They also were without an offensive line starter and was without Hill who gave them another dimension to their game that gave us fits the first time. Also the fact that our offense and d were clicking at the right time. Pass rush was getting there and our young secondary was improving. Offensive line was blocking well for Brady and run game. It seemed like everything worked out at the right time. Which is pretty much what it takes to win it. Some luck and everything working out at the right time.
The beat down of the super bowl was just as perplexing though too because they made the first half in the game earlier against us look so effortless. I genuinely thought the second half they just didn’t care because it was already a beat down and would take some amazing comeback for the Bucs to win especially how easy they were moving the ball against us in the first half. Then when they put the game away they did it pretty effortlessly so I thought the super bowl would be easy for them even with their starting offensive line guys out.
It’s fun now in hindsight watching the “experts” who were so wrong but I was as well. There was really a combo of the team playing its best, luck, and some key injuries from the other teams.
Brees may or may not have had the arm strength in the playoff game. But Rodgers and Mahomes had the arm strength and that didn’t seem to help them to find their targets. Brees doesn’t take sacks. He’d prefer to get the ball out quickly. Come hell or high water he’s going to get that ball out rather than take a sack. But that doesn’t mean it will be a good throw. I just think he was forced to get that ball out before he could make a good throw.
One guy the Bucs didn’t have to deal with in the playoffs was Taysom Hill. The Saints couldn’t bring in the gadget player for a change of pace. The Bucs were able to solve the Brees equation and that was that. As an aside, I think the Bucs did make a mistake by not calling a timeout when Winston came in. Somebody should have said “Um guys you know Jameis is not normally a wide receiver right? Whats up with that? Why would he be going out for a pass?” It was only in the 2nd quarter, so burning a timeout is no big deal.
I re-watched the game last week. Jared Cook helped us significantly. It was also evident that Brees and his receivers/Kamara weren’t on the same page. Different reads appeared to create the interceptions more than a weak arm. Some of the interceptions appeared to me like they should have been completions.
Kudos to our D for getting the turnovers, since they were the difference in the game. Our longest TD drive was 40 yards.
This Bucs team has just scratched the surface. I don’t think that we really realize to what extent it takes a first year QB (even though it is Tom Brady), and all of the new players to jell enough to win a freakin’ Super Bowl? I believe that they are still jelling and it will carry over into the upcoming season. This could get real scary…for the rest of the league!
One thing that none of the experts talked about was home field advantage. Arians brought it up, and while he probably should not have said it, he knew what he was talking about! I said before the game that there is no way the Bucs could let the Chiefs beat them in their own stadium. They would have to live with that every time they played a game this year in that stadium, and forever. Psychology was a huge factor. I saw many experts say there was no home field advantage due to covid and the mix of fans in the stadium. They totally missed the mental part, and sports is at least half mental.