Dat’s Davis: No Sean Payton? No Problem! Saints Put Together Defensive Masterpiece in Bucs Victory

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In my last article, I said I picked the Bucs to win by 4, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Saints pulled the upset. Turns out, I was only half right. The Saints pulled the upset, but I was very much surprised; this was a defensive masterpiece orchestrated by Acting Head Coach Dennis Allen.

The Saints beat Tampa Bay 9-0, without even scoring an offensive touchdown of their own. This is only the second time in less than three seasons I can personally recall Saints coming away with this kind of victory (first being a 2019 week 3 home game vs. the Dallas Cowboys).

How did New Orleans achieve the unthinkable? Here are a few ways.

– Turnover Battle: Saints needed to win the turnover battle against Tampa Bay in order to give themselves a chance to win and that’s exactly what they did. Forcing two turnovers, including a game-sealing INT by DB CJ Gardner-Johnson & a forced fumble by DE Cameron Jordan. Taysom Hill didn’t light up the stat sheet with his performance and even had missed on some big play opportunities, but he took care of the football by being a game manager. Hill put together 13 out of 27 for 154 yards, 0 INTs, passer rating of 66.0. 

– Trench Warfare: Saints dominated the line on both sides of the ball, especially on defense. Cameron Jordan had his best game of the season so far, finishing with two sacks & a forced fumble on Tom Brady when he went to scramble to put the Bucs in field goal range. Saints offensive line was not to be outdone in this one. They kept Taysom Hill relatively safe by taking care of Tampa’s most problematic pass-rushers. OLBs Shaq Barrett & Jason-Pierre Paul combined for 0 sacks, forcing someone else to step up and make plays on their line, which was rookie pass-rusher Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. 

– Calling for Callaway: WR Marquez Callaway finally having the type of game many Saints fans expected to see of him since his preseason performances against Baltimore & Jacksonville. Callaway became the first Saints receiver to break 100 receiving yards in a game this season by putting together a career high 112 yards off 6 catches. Now it’s up to him to build on this momentum. 

Brady is now 1-4, 8 TDs – 8 INTs with 14 sacks taken vs. the Saints, since joining Tampa Bay.