The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the opportunity to make a statement under the bright lights on Sunday night.
Instead, Tom Brady and Co. laid an egg.
The Buccaneers, who started with a three-game winning streak in Week 9, were flattened from NFC South rival New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay garnered just 194 yards of total insult as it fell 38-3 to the Saints, which sealed a sweep of the teams’ regular season series.
The blowout marked that worst point difference loss of Brady’s career. The 43 year old fought mightily against New Orleans, 22 of 38 attempts to pass for 209 yards without touchdowns and three interceptions. The Saints also gave Brady fits in Week 1 when Drew Brees and Co. scored an 11-point win in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
After the game, head coach Bruce Arians was asked if he was concerned about Brady’s worst performance this season against tougher opponents. Arians didn’t sound overly concerned, but neither did he ignore the question.
“I think that’s how you are usually judged,” said Arians, according to a record provided by the team. “We were pretty good against Green Bay and very bad against New Orleans.”
Don’t look now, but repairing the ship won’t be easy for the Bucs. On deck is a matchup with the annoying Panthers in Carolina, followed by a tendency to prime time with the defensively strong Los Angeles Rams. The Bucs will then receive reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs in Week 12.
The sky doesn’t fall in Tampa Bay, of course, but maybe the Bucs were crowned NFC favorites prematurely.
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