The Bucs started the game out hot by forcing the Saints to punt on their opening drive, then scoring on a Tom Brady rushing touchdown when they first had the ball. But as the game went on, the Bucs continued to make mental errors on both sides of the ball, spoiling the debut of the Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski era in a 34-23 loss.

These were the most impressive Bucs players from the game.

CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
Murphy-Bunting was making plays all over the field Sunday afternoon, particularly in the first half.  Murphy-Bunting had a solid day making tackles in the open field, something difficult to do against a Saints’ offense that gets the ball into their playmakers hands as quickly as possible.

There was a big stop on Alvin Kamara, who would have broken a long run after the catch had Murphy-Bunting not made the play. There was also a couple of solid tackles made on Jared Cook on third down to prevent him from reaching the marker.  He ended the day with five tackles and one tackle for loss.

ILB Devin White
You can see why his teammates voted White in as a captain in just his second year in the NFL. He tied for the team lead with 10 tackles and each play was impactful when he was involved. White had a great stop on Alvin Kamara after a reception where it looked like he was going to burst up the field with a running start, but the Bucs linebacker tossed Kamara down for a loss. White also had a nice pass breakup on a throw to Latavius Murray in the flat later in the game.

ILB Lavonte David

There has been a lot of hype that David and White could be the top duo at linebacker in the league, and they lived up to the billing on Sunday in New Orleans. David’s big highlight play came late in the third quarter when he tackled Taysom Hill for a seven-yard loss on an important third down. This gave the ball back to the Bucs’ offense with a chance to tie the game up, as the score was 24-17 at the time. David tied with White for a team leading 10 tackles, and set the tone for the defense with two tackles for loss.

WR Chris Godwin
The offense had their issues in the game, but it wasn’t because Godwin. We saw the same kind of Godwin that made his first Pro Bowl a year ago, showing a great combination of making plays down the field, while also picking up yards after the catch. It started early for Godwin when he made the first reception of the season on a 29-yard pass from Brady. He continued to make plays late, snagging a difficult catch over the middle and absorbing a big hit while doing so. Godwin ended with six receptions for 79 yards.

WR Scotty Miller
Along with Godwin, it was Miller that looked in sync with Brady on Sunday in New Orleans. Miller looks much more comfortable with the playbook in his second year. Brady was hitting Miller at all different distances on the field, with his best play coming on a 37-yard pass down the left side of the field that eventually set the Bucs up for a score. Miller was very reliable for the Bucs’ offense even when the unit was struggling to get in-sync. His 73 receiving yards on five receptions was a career best for him.

RT Tristan Wirfs
In somewhat of a surprise, Wirfs was the better of the two offensive tackles that started on the Bucs’ offensive line. The rookie first-round pick had a tough match-up heading into his NFL debut against defensive end Cam Jordan, and he played very well while preventing Jordan from recording a sack in the game. You didn’t hear Wirfs name too much, which is always a good thing for an offensive lineman. It was a good start for the rookie, who the Bucs will be counting on this season.

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Hopefully wirfs will be our future left tackle. D Smith is garbage. Not sure of coverages, but if carlton davis was tracking thomas, he needs to be on this list. Thomas did nothing this game.

Rating: +35. From 37 votes.
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Last edited 1 month ago by cgmaster27

THIS! The entire defense looked good and the young secondary looked strong aside from a lapse by Dean. Once the offense gets in synch we will be very dangerous.

Rating: +13. From 13 votes.
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Wifs played really really well. He was aggressive in the run game, and in pass protection he handled Jordan for the most part, and on the plays Jordan got a good bull rush on him he recovered and anchored very well. He is the future LT for the Bucs. Smith has to go.

Rating: +21. From 21 votes.
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Good list, I would add Carlton Davis.

Rating: +31. From 31 votes.
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I think Wirfs to LT and drafting/trading/signing a new T is a serious consideration that the Bucs need to make in 2021 even before this game but unless Smith turns it around, which unlike Brady I am not counting on given his past, it becomes a near necessity.

Rating: +8. From 8 votes.
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Miller and Godwin looked like they were ready to play. No doubt David and White had great games. I think a couple of games into the season the Defense will be back to last year’s level. Lack of interceptions continues on defense, but I am sure we will see them increase once the sacks start happening. I am not worried about the defense as much as I am the offense. Rojo looked like he was struggling to get yards. His hands were good though. And it was nice to see Howard snag a TD. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00… Read more »

Hockey Duckie

IIRC, it wasn’t SMB that stopped TE Cook, but Devin White. Yet the announcers kept saying it was SMB that got the tackle. As for LB White, he had two mistakes in the game. The first mistake was when Kamara ran for his first TD with the WR crossing from our (Def POV) right to left. LVD shot the gap on the right side, but White also went to that gap. Terrible. His gap responsibility was to the left of the center. Kamara walked in for the easy TD. Another miss was a missed TFL when he deftly shot the… Read more »


CB Carlton Davis should have been at the top of this list. Pinion did a great job on kick-offs. J.P.P. and Shaq had their moments.

Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
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Yes I agree Davis looked very good overall. One dumb penalty but tough job Sunday. D. Smith is crap been saying it for years. He has mental lapses every game. So tired of that guy and how “this year he will become a great LT!” Hear it every year and every year he’s the same. Doesn’t get hurt and plays decent most of game but at least one huge blunder every game and always comes in big moments it seems. Wirfs did great for first action. Especially against Jordan. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+10 Rating: +1. From 1 vote.… Read more »


We can’t forget we played our first game of the year with no preseason with the #1 team in the NFC and we held our own until we pooped ourselves with dumb penalties.

Donovan Smith…dude, you got schooled by a second string defensive end. Cam Jordan also made you look foolish. I really hope this was just one of your many bad games.

Pooper of the week….Donovan Smith.

Rating: +4. From 4 votes.
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As was mentioned during the game, Carlton Davis had coverage on Michael Thomas for most of the contest.
Another excruciating loss where the Bucs shoot themselves in the foot time and time again with mental lapses and penalties.
When are these buffoons going to learn you can’t take plays off in the NFL.
Jamel Dean getting beat down the sideline by a much slower TE was painful to see.

Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
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Hats off to Wirfs and Davis who basically took Jordan & Thomas out of the game again. I thought our young secondary with the exception of Dean played well. Really like our defense. Offense was off, Smith is terrible at tackle and our RB’s have to pass block much better. Special Teams need alot of work.

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Last edited 1 month ago by 76bucsfan46

76Bucsfan46, good analysis. Our special teams were not very special, in fact they stunk. I haven’t looked at the stat yet but I can tell you that Brees had a much shorter field to work from than Brady. Just a guess but I would say Brees started around the 35 or better and Brady around the 15. The reason for that was either poor tackling or Pinion out punting his coverage or maybe a combination of both. Our punt returner never got chance for a return. A shout out to Scotty Miller, he played light out as did Chris Godwin.… Read more »