September 27, 2023

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Is Tom Brady the only Buccaneer with the proverbial Saints thorn in his side?

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Buccaneers' quarterback, Tom Brady (12) via ESPN on Twitter (NBC)

In Week one against the Dallas Cowboys, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers performed rather well. The Buccaneers rushed the ball 33 times for 152 yards. Fournette led the team with 127 yards on 21 carries, placing him at 5th in the league in rushing yards for the week. The offensive line played solid, despite the loss of Ryan Jensen and Aaron Stinnie. Wirfs was dealing with an Oblique injury, but it was a non-factor. He still played the entire game; all 62 snaps.

The running game flourished that night.

A solid established running game is exactly what is needed to help take some pressure off of Tom Brady and help to stabilize the line in order to get the ball out of Brady’s hands and into a receiver’s hands for the score.

But that’s easier said than done. Lenny has a Saints’ thorn in his side, too.

In Leonard Fournette’s career (5 games) against the New Orleans Saints, he has just 72 yards combined on 20 attempts (3.6 YPC), with no touchdowns. The stat is important. I would expect to see Todd Bowles continue to run the football, establish that run, and get the ball moving down the field a lot more in this year’s Week 2 contest. Mike Evans is dinged up with a calf injury but isn’t likely to miss Sunday, and Chris Godwin suffered a hamstring injury last week against the Cowboys. Godwin’s injury isn’t too significant, but I wouldn’t expect him to play this Sunday against the Saints in New Orleans.

Considering that Bowles does like to run the ball more than 17-20 times, I believe that the run will be the deciding factor in this Week 2 game, and the “Playoff” Lenny continues his hot start and has a breakout game against the Saints.

It will be an interesting game this week, considering this will be the first time the Buccaneers have faced the Saints without Sean Payton calling the shots since 2005, when Jim Haslett was their head coach, so that is something that the Bucs should take advantage of.. Always the big rivalry, the Bucs cannot come out flat against the Saints this week as it puts so much pressure on the team, and mistakes get made all too easily. The Bucs have to play precisely, establish the run, protect Brady, make the catches, limit the penalties and play hardnosed defense in order to walk away with the win and a 2-0 start to a long, tough, season.

Article Written by Derek “Maniac” Stephens

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