The Buccaneers are below .500 for the second time this season but that doesn’t mean the team is down in the dumps. It seems the Bucs of the past few weeks are just a second too late or a step behind , but there’s still time to try and hone their skills for next year. The New Orleans Saints have had an equally disappointing season, but under much different circumstances.
When these two teams met earlier in the season, the Buccaneers almost pulled out a win at home but came up just short. This time around the setting in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and while the stakes in terms of the playoff race are virtually gone, there is still a massive matter of pride on the line, and the Bucs would love nothing more than to get back on track by thumping the Saints on the road.
Can the Bucs beat the Saints? Will Doug Martin follow in the footsteps of fellow rookie David Wilson and gash the Saints defense, or will we see more of the same in terms of Drew Brees beating up a vulnerable Bucs secondary? We’ll have live updates below, so be sure to get in on the action and keep up with the Bucs in our open thread below the live blog.
Alright, with the backups in, nothing more to see here. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the live blog today, hopefully next time it can be under better circumstances. Check out the site for post-game wrap-ups and reactions soon!
And now the Buccaneers have the backup offense in. Blount with the carry, handed off by Orlovsky.
Or 7-0 Chase Daniels led Saints.
Either way, the Buccaneers are getting destroyed.
Chase Daniel is in for the Saints. Consider the Buccaneers officially trolled.
Once again, Josh Freeman holds onto the ball for far too long, doesn’t see an open Vincent Jackson, and gives up a strip-sack.
Bucs allow a Saints field goal, 34-0, and we get another chance to see Josh Freeman complain about his teammates.
And as I say that, he connects with Morgan on a decent throw and great catch.
Saints are still trying to throw it all over the yard. Brees isn’t having his most efficient day, either.
Josh seems perpetually pissed off at his teammates over the past two weeks.
And Josh overthrows Underwood by a mile, and right to a Saints DB.
Add a false start to the previous list of things the O-Line has done today.
The offensive line has done nothing but hold Saints and not block for Martin and Freeman all day.
All credit to the defense. They have not given up, they’re just not very good.
And the Buccaneers are unable to convert a fourth and two, because all of the routes were too deep, and Josh couldn’t find someone to throw to.
Why do we run 8 yard routes on 3rd and 10, but run 15 yard routes on 4th and 2?
Mike Williams unable to haul in a one handed catch in the endzone that would have been a highlight moment on a dark day for the Buccaneers.
Down 31-0, Josh Freeman thinks to himself “Oh wow, we have Vincent Jackson on the team? That’s awesome!”
A nice accurate throw to Vincent Jackson over the middle, and the no-huddle is working as usual for the Buccaneers.
The Dallas Clark show continues. Not sure why he’s been such a focal point.
Vincent Jackson is alive! #FreeVJax
Saints will punt it right back to the Bucs here. Tampa Bay really needs to put together a scoring drive, just to prove to themselves that they’re capable.
Freeman today: 13/28, 3 INT’s, being shut out by worst defense in the league.
4th and 15, and the Bucs turn it right back over to the Saints. No pass protection, no open receivers, and no points for the Bucs yet again.
And on 3rd and long, the Bucs try for a 5 yard route to Dallas Clark.
Seriously? That’s disgusting to me. At least give it a shot.
Buccaneer first down negated by holding. Even down 31, this team just can’t get it right.
The Dallas Clark show continues, as Josh finds him to beat the Saints blitz.
Josh with a nice streak here. Yes, it’s garbage time, but at least he’s remembering he’s a capable QB. He then promptly skips one in to VJax.
And then Josh delivers a strike over the middle. Right in stride to Mike Williams. Williams with a nice move on the next play to pick up a second first down in a row. Quick plays, letting Josh go though a short progression and get the ball out.
The Bucs dump it off to Doug Martin on the first play of the series here, and it’s good to see them still getting him involved. He needs to keep gaining experience.
So let me get this straight, baseball legend Joe Morgan scored for the Saints? The Bucs D really is slipping.
Brees with 4 TD’s on the day, and the Saints are up 31-0. Bucs have licked the envelope of the season, and are about to put the stamp on it and mail it in.
Joseph Morgan streaks down the sideline, and Biggers is toast. Touchdown, Saints.
“Nobody has a .5 kid” – Brian Billick.
You can only get hard hitting analysis like this from Brian Billick.
“Jason Scott @JBo_87
@ThePewterPlank tell me who is Freeman barking at?? All day to throw?!? Underthrows Dallas Clark?!? Anybody can throw 50/50 jump balls”
I agree with this as well. Josh is barking a lot, considering he’s made some poor decisions and has grown exceedingly cautious and unwilling to throw the ball.
“Adam Boyd @Boyciie
@ThePewterPlank But since when was Clark a “jump ball” target?”
At least one follower on Twitter sees it how I do. Poor play call and decision.
I understand that Dallas did not make a good effort on that deep ball. But… he’s an H-back tight end. That’s not his game. Poor judgement by Josh.
Josh throws a bomb to….
Dallas Clark. And it’s intercepted. He’s thrown to Dallas a lot today, and I’m not sure why. Meanwhile, VJax has been invisible.
Fake punt! Bucs snap to Keith Tandy and he picks up a first down.
Bucs off to a slow start in the second half, facing 3rd and 10. Josh has no one to throw to, or refuses to throw, and runs for 8 yards. The run would have been negated by a Jamon Meredith hold anyways, but the Bucs will punt after a quick 3 and out.
Schiano refuses to put all the blame on Josh, according to Fox sideline reporter.
I posted a quick halftime recap here: http://thepewterplank.com/2012/12/16/buccaneers-at-saints-halftime-thoughts/
Bucs delayed the Saints snap after the Graham catch. Lance Moore is karma in wideout form. Bucs are falling apart at the seams.
And now Graham gets redemption, with a huge leaping catch to get the ball inside the 10. He was covered by, guess who, Lavonte David.
Barron with a big hit on Graham over the middle, but it looks like Jimmy was unlikely to catch it anyways.
Koenen has been good today. Trying to be positive. But now even the special teams has a lapse, and the Saints start with the ball in Bucs territory with a minute left.
The Bucs are not running any routes that Josh can throw when he feels pressure. Jackson ran a 10 yard sluggo. That is too slow of a route for a QB who has been blitzed on every third down.
Josh either has all the time in the world, and no one to throw to, or he has no time at all, and can’t throw it accurately.
Brees with three straight incompletions and the Saints will punt. D-line has kept Brees moving on a good portion of plays.
Ira Kaufman @IKaufmanTBO
Bucs offensive line is getting whipped up front by a defense that had been allowing 5.1 yards per rush. Too many third-and-longs for Freeman
Stephen Holder @HolderStephen
Difference between #Bucs defense today and the one on the field this time last year? Um, nothing.
Not looking good on either side of the ball for the Bucs.
Drew Brees runs for a first down. Now the Saints are just trolling the Bucs. Two minute warning the only thing that can stop the Saints at this point.
Well… special teams has been decent this week. So, we’ve got that going for us. Trying to be positive.
And once again, third down pass play results in a completion for not enough yardage. No receivers anywhere near the line to gain, just deep routes and a dump off option.
“Larry Holder @LarryHolder
Is it me or does Josh Freeman look like a mess out there?”
Saints beat writer has it right.
Josh almost throws his third pick, and he airs a dump off pass to Martin and it hits a Saint in the hands.
17-0 Saints in the 2nd quarter. The only hope the Bucs have is that they were able to come back against the Saints in similar circumstances earlier this season.
Lavonte David covering Sproles, and this time Sproles doesn’t drop it. Touchdown, Saints.
Bucs give up a long third down conversion despite getting pressure on Drew. And just like that, they’re in the red zone.
Also, apparently Adam Hayward got upset with Brian Cox on the sideline. The Bucs can’t afford this kind of internal conflict. Otherwise, we’re in the same boat we were with Raheem.
Josh has been getting upset at teammates the past two weeks. It’s one thing to get mad at Underwood, but it’s another to be mad at VJax.
Now encroachment will offset a Bennett tackle for loss. Bucs are self-destructing here.
Josh tries to find VJax over the middle on 3rd down, but Jackson never turned back to look. The short pass over the middle goes to the Saints instead, another pick in the red zone for the Bucs Offense.
Josh overthrows a wide open Mike Williams in the end zone. Sigh.
And then the offensive line lets Martin down, and he has nowhere to go. 10 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter, Bucs facing 2nd and long.
Pitch to Martin results in a first down run on first down. Commit to the run, Bucs.
Non-Bucs news: If the world does end this upcoming week, at least we all got to see Adrian Peterson.
Bowers gets to Brees and gets a sack on third down! Bucs get a big stop.
On the punt return, #52 gets his bounty check for a big hit on Roscoe Parrish, but a big return and a Saints penalty gives the ball to the Bucs in Saints territory.
First down throw by Brees is behind Henderson, and bounces right into the face of Gorrer… who is hopeless to try and catch it.
And the Bucs run a play for 8 yards on 3rd and 9. Brilliant.
And on second down, Doug has to fight for one yard on a very slow developing misdirection handoff.
2nd quarter needs to be time for #22. But the Bucs start with an empty backfield and Josh can’t connect with Dallas Clark.
Bucs D holds on a goal-to-go sequence for the Saints. Hartley converts the short FG to make it 10-0 Saints barely into the 2nd quarter in the Metrodome.
As much as Josh has struggled recently, Orlovsky is not the answer. Do I need to pull up the clip of him walking out of the back of the end zone?
Schiano chewing out the defense in between quarters. Hopefully he changes his scheme on defense, too.
Brees is 11 of 12 so far, the only incompletion being the Sproles drop that should have been a huge play for the Saints.
End of the first quarter, and the Saints are doing any and everything they’d like to do on offense so far.
And now, Brees with all day to throw, and finds Colston uncovered, Lavonte David missed Colston sneaking in behind him.
Bucs bring a blitz, and leave Aaron Morgan (Morgan Aaron, as Billick calls him) on Jimmy Graham. Uhhhh, what? That’s just awful. Terrible scheme for a third down play.
Also, this game needs more Doug Martin. No more of these slow developing run plays. Give him the ball, and let him get to work.
I take back what I said about trying to throw the ball over the middle with Josh as QB. Time and time again he has proven he can’t make an accurate and well-timed throw short over the middle.
annnd Bad Josh is back. He throws it right to Jabari Greer, intended for Dallas Clark.
Freeman throws behind Mike Williams on a back shoulder route down the sideline, and Williams keeps good position with maaaaaybe a bit of interference.
Doug Martin not getting much room, and Josh facing a lot of heat. The O-Line has been lacking so far.
Saints bring pressure, and Josh leads DJ Ware perfectly for a first down.
Josh with a man in his face, throws it low, brings up 3rd and long. Would have liked to see more Doug Martin, or an easier throw for Josh (not a play action)
This might be as much scheme as it is lack of secondary talent”
Unfortunately , I think it’s a combination of both. Poor talent and a scheme with holes in it. But Booger makes a good point.
30th dropped pass of the season by the Saints, according to Fox.
Dropped pass by Darren Sproles bails out the Bucs! He had a likely score ahead of him, but he couldn’t haul in the third down pass.
Lavonte David with a big hit on Pierre Thomas on second down. But, once again, easy gain over the middle for the Saints in the passing game.
Saints bring a ton of pressure, and they bat down his pass attempt at the line. Bucs to punt after a 3 and out.
Bucs decide to run on second down. Doug Martin with a decent gain, gives the Bucs a 3rd and 4. These are the plays the Bucs must convert.
Again, feel free to tweet @ThePewterPlank or @UTEPMiners (my Twitter) with any questions, and we’ll answer them live on the blog.
That was way too easy for the Saints, as the middle of the Bucs’ pass defense is once again the culprit. 6-0 Saints on a TD pass in front of Mark Barron. David Thomas the recipient. 7-0 after the Hartley XP.
Pierre Thomas with a screen pass reception inside the Red Zone. Buccaneers D is limiting the big play, but giving up chunks of yards with no resistance.
Saints already across midfield. Saints picking up chunks of yards on every play. Not even a holding call is going to stop them.
First play of the game might be a sign of things to come. Wide open Jimmy Graham gets an easy first down.
Jed Collins down on the opening kickoff. He’s a key part of their offense when healthy, key run blocker and red zone target for the Saints.
Saints won the toss, and want to start on offense. Bucs defense will get an early chance to make a statement.
Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick on the call for Fox today. Definitely not the worst combo out there.
10 minutes until kickoff, no surprise inactives for the Bucs. Feel free to join in the discussion with your comments, tweets, and Facebook posts. You can tweet me (Leo) directly at @UTEPMiners, I will answer any Bucs questions received.