The lights of the Superdome have barely begun to dim as I write this piece. The defense showed up and set up the offense time after time. Devin White showed up and proved many in the fan base wrong about his demise. Murphy-Bunting and Carlton Davis played lights out as well. There isn’t enough room in this article to laud the defensive stars that contributed. The best way to describe it, they showed up big time as a unit. They turned their weakness into a strength, keeping Brees limited to short passes all game. The lone deep ball, coming from none other than Jameis Winston using a play stolen from the Bears game the week before. It was really the only play where the defense was badly beaten. Todd Bowles had this unit well-prepared for this one; that there is no doubt.
Patting the entire defensive unit and staff for this win is the obvious reaction. Not so fast; there is another back slap needed from this game on the offensive side; coach Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich for not abandoning the run game, even when we fell behind by seven. All season long, we watched as the offense seemingly left the run game in the dust as the game went on, but not in this one, though. They made the run an actual part of the game plan and not an afterthought in the second half. The Saints effectively took away our deep ball connections save the one ball to Scotty Miller. Taking what the defense gives you has never really been something that Bruce Arians has been accustomed to doing. He’s used to dictating what’s what when we have the ball. So my game ball goes to Bruce Arians for going against his own tendencies and continuing to pound the rock. Fournette again showed he’s capable of picking up small chunks of yardage consistently. Jones, still somewhat hampered by injury, came in and contributed mightily, showing he is still the number one guy in the run game. Capable of busting it to the house at any moment. When his contract is up in 2022, the Bucs should do whatever it takes to keep him a Buccaneer for a long time.
Not to be forgotten, a few atta-boys
Aaron Stinnie getting the start for an injured Alex Cappa save for one play was never an issue in protection. Tyler Johnson for a superhuman grab when we needed it. The rest of the offensive line for their usual greatness. Donovan Smith has officially won me over to his side. I hope we can bring back everyone on the o-line for next season. Finally to Scotty Miller for a great catch for a first down when we needed that as well. It was a team win, with players showing up left and right to contribute to one of the greatest wins in team history. Make no mistake about it, no matter what happens on the frozen tundra next week in Green Bay. This was one for the books and should always be counted as one of the very best wins in team history. After all, it was against those dancing Saints, our biggest rival and division nemesis. Who Dat? Indeed! Go Bucs