TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The New Orleans Saints defeated Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a shutout and three field goals, 9-0.
The Super Bowl champions had a slow offensive start against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium Sunday night, with the Saints squeezing in not one, but two field goals by the beginning of second quarter.
The Buccaneers offense took a big hit at 12:51 in the second quarter. After catching a five-yard pass, Chris Godwin went down hard on New Orleans cornerback P.J. Williams’ tackle that directly impacted Godwin’s left knee, causing his body to flip forward. He remained down for several minutes, but was eventually able to stand up and limp off the field. His return was ruled questionable.
With just under six minutes left in the first half, at 4th and 13, the Bucs attempted a field goal, but it veered to the left of the goalpost, leaving the Bucs scoreless.
On third down prior to the field goal, Bucs wide receiver and Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee Mike Evans made a clutch midair catch, but came away in pain. By the end of second quarter it was ruled a hamstring injury, with his return doubtful.
The Bucs remained scoreless at halftime, the first first-half shutout for the team this season.
During halftime, both Godwin and Evans were ruled out completely due to their injuries.
For their part, the Saints’ defense gave Tampa Bay a run for their money, sacking Tom Brady three times: twice by Cameron Jordan and once by Marcus Davenport.
With Evans and Godwin gone, the Bucs’ offense landed heavily on Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette’s shoulders in the third quarter–and Fournette buckled. He sustained a hamstring injury and was ruled out.
On third down for the Bucs, Brady passed to Gronkowski, who attempted a one-arm catch, but the Saints defense got a hand on the ball and tipped it, throwing off the ball’s trajectory and making it incomplete.
During the Saints’ second possession in the third quarter, Bucs Joe Tryon-Shoyinka sacked Hill, putting them at 4th and 13.
With 1:03 left in the third quarter, the Saints’ defense pressured Brady enough to have to scramble for the first down. New Orleans’ Cameron Jordan caused Brady to fumble the ball, which was recovered by New Orleans’ Marshon Lattimore.
With mere minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Buccaneers made what could only be called an unforced error. As the Saints kicker attempted the punt, the Bucs were hit with an attacking the kicker penalty, which immediately switched possession back to the Saints. The Buccaneers’ coffin was sealed at that point.
“Just a tough night. Didn’t do much of anything right,” Tom Brady said postgame. “We just didn’t play well enough. We’re not going to win scoring no points.”
“You can’t say enough about what they did to pitch a shutout like that. And against a Brady-led offense, it’s incredible,” Saints quarterback Taysom Hill said. “Part of our play calling and all that was reflective of how well they were playing.”
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org