Saints 30, Buccaneers 10: Immediate observations and reactions

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 5: Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints runs the ball in for a touchdown during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 5, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 5: Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints runs the ball in for a touchdown during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 5, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers (2-6) lost their fifth straight game on Sunday, falling 30-10 to the Saints (6-2). Here, we have observations and reactions from another lackluster performance.

10. 48. 30. 15. Final

Another slow first half and then an awful second half doomed the Buccaneers in Sunday’s 30-10 loss to the Saints. Let’s get to some reactions.

Observations and Reactions- General

-The Buccaneers just never showed up for this game. It’s hard to not blame the coaching staff for that, really. After getting outscored 16-3 in the first 30 minutes on Sunday, Tampa Bay has now been outscored 60-9 in the first half of the last four games.

-Less than 10 minutes into the game, the Bucs went down 9-0. You aren’t going to win very many games if you’re falling behind right out of the gate.

-Penalties are killing this team, specifically the offense. Flags killed drives last week and the same thing happened this week. That’s just poor discipline.

-Not that it has anything to do with their awful play, but I can’t be the only one tired of the Bucs wearing white jerseys every single week.

-The team showed no heart once again. Obviously none of us are on the inside to see what goes on daily, but there was no point in this game where it looked like the Bucs really cared. That’s a coaching issue.

-The only time anyone showed any sort of emotion, it was the wrong kind. Marshon Lattimore was running his mouth near the Bucs sideline, so Jameis Winston came off the bench, pointed for him to get off the Bucs’ side of the field and poked the back of his helmet. Lattimore didn’t like it, so he shoved Winston. Mike Evans then ran full speed to deck him from behind, starting a brawl. Somehow Evans didn’t get ejected, but don’t be surprised if he does get a suspension.

-I didn’t believe any coaching rumors last week because I just couldn’t see the Bucs firing yet another coach after only two years. But right now, after another bad loss, I really think Dirk Koetter is coaching for his job the rest of this season.

Observations and Reactions- Offense

-Winston still wasn’t himself on Sunday and it took an entire half for anyone on the sideline to notice? He didn’t return for the second half after completing just seven of his thirteen attempts for 67 yards and getting sacked twice. Not only were the two sacks rough on his shoulder, but he was also hit a few times.

-Winston needs to go on injured reserve. There is nothing left to play for. The team needs to ride with Ryan Fitzpatrick and figure out who has the heart to finish out this season without any chance of making the playoffs.

-The run game never got going for the Bucs. Doug Martin had no space to run, carrying the ball eight times for seven yards. He was pulled early, for some reason. Peyton Barber had a little more luck, running for 34 yards on eleven carries.

-Neither Winston nor Fitzpatrick did much of anything to spark the offense. The Bucs finished with 200 total yards. Koetter needs to give up play-calling, wear a different pair of glasses or something. Whatever the offense is doing right now just is not working even a little bit.

Observations and Reactions- Defense

-First off, thoughts go out to William Gholston from everyone here at The Pewter Plank. He was carted off with a neck injury in the third quarter. That’s never easy to see, but it was encouraging to see him moving his extremities.

-As for the rest of the defense, what a disgrace. After a couple stops early, the unit reverted back to its poor form. Missed tackles and blown coverage assignment led to some easy scoring drives for the Saints. After seeing their performance in the second half, I think it’s fair to question effort from these guys.

Drew Brees completed 22 of his 27 attempts on Sunday for 263 yards and two touchdowns. The secondary couldn’t hold up, but the front seven didn’t help all that much either. At this point, it’s safe to say that the defense’s ceiling is very limited until they add some talent up front.

Alvin Kamara is very good and it would’ve been nice to see the Bucs pick him up in the draft. Instead, he tore through the defense on Sunday with 152 total yards and two total touchdowns. Tampa Bay gets to see him twice a year for the foreseeable future, which doesn’t excite me too much.

Lavonte David is a baller. He continues to be one of the only playmakers on this defense, forcing his fourth fumble of the year. That ties a career high and we’re only halfway through the season.

Ryan Smith actually had a fairly encouraging day. He made some nice tackles and blocked an extra point on the day.

Gerald McCoy didn’t do a whole lot on Sunday, but I want to make a point here. The veteran deserves so much more, which is why watching him go through another pathetic season is bothering me. I’d love to see him get a Super Bowl ring some day and it probably won’t happen in a Tampa Bay uniform. Plus, Bucs fans don’t deserve McCoy at this point. He will likely continue to shrug off the unwarranted hate from fans while continuing to work hard because that’s the kind of guy he is.

Observations and Reactions- Special Teams

Patrick Murray connected on a 50-yard field goal early in the game, but later missed a 54-yarder. He initially made the kick from 54, but a New Orleans timeout forced the miss on a re-kick.

Bryan Anger had a punt blocked on Sunday. Yes, even the team’s most consistent player had something go wrong for him. That was probably the first sign that this game wasn’t going to go Tampa Bay’s way.

Final Thoughts

I have so much to say, but I doubt any of it is new. Every fan of the Buccaneers is having the same thoughts and concerns right now. The offense isn’t moving, Jameis Winston needs to get healthy for next year and the defense needs a lot of upgrades when the offseason comes around. I just truly can’t believe where this team is right now. There was so much offseason hype, real excitement building in Tampa and a highly-entertaining appearance on HBO’s Hard Knocks. But when it came to actually performing on the field, this team didn’t deliver. There is no way that the Bucs should be this bad. They have too much talent on the roster.

Here we are, though. Tampa Bay is going nowhere and talk will now shift to next April’s NFL Draft. There are some exciting players in next year’s class, but it’s unbelievable that we’re already having to focus on that. Surely, there will be some serious work to do in the offseason, but what will the Bucs look like heading into 2018? Will Koetter and general manager Jason Licht still be around? That’s a real conversation to have these days. Whoever is leading the charge next year has more work to do than anyone thought. The Bucs are 2-6. They’re almost certainly going to finish under .500 after such an encouraging season last year. This one is over, so let’s all forget about it. Enjoy your week, Bucs fans.

Next: Buccaneers Round Table: Mid-season draft decisions

The Buccaneers return to Raymond James Stadium next Sunday for a 1:00 p.m. matchup with the New York Jets (4-5).