Buccaneers: Key Plays from 2017 Week 9 against the Saints

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 24: Mike Evans #13 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers makes a catch over Sterling Moore #24 of the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 24, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 24: Mike Evans #13 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers makes a catch over Sterling Moore #24 of the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 24, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Well, the hype was nice while it lasted, but the Buccaneers are now 2-6 and the playoff hopes are beyond gone. Tampa Bay lost to the Saints 30-10 and even that scoreline doesn’t show how poorly the Bucs played. The Buccaneers are simply just a bad team, and it just doesn’t make any sense.

Jameis Winston was unable to finish the game for the Buccaneers, as he sat out for the second half to prevent further injury to his throwing shoulder. The offense that was already stagnant did not improve under Ryan Fitzpatrick. The lone offensive score came on a short field.

The defense played poorly again, inexplicably being unable to do simple things such as tackle the ballcarrier. This Bucs team is starting to look like all the bad ones that came before under Schiano, Lovie, and Morris.

Well, let’s take a look at the key plays that allowed the Saints to pick up the victory.

Justin Hardee 7 yd return of Blocked Punt for TD: 6:31 Q1

The Buccaneers failed to start fast on offense and it only got worse from there. After going 3 and out on offense, Bryan Anger‘s punt was blocked for the very first time in his tenure with the Bucs. The punt block was returned for a TD as teams are coming up with creative ways to score on the Bucs.

This was a key play because the Saints went up two possessions without even having to score on offense or defense.

Lavonte David FF: 8:49 Q2

The Saints were driving and looking poised to score. However, Lavonte David had other plans. In what has become a staple of David’s he forced yet another forced fumble. David knocked the ball out of RB Alvin Kamara‘s hands right before his knee could hit. David has forced 4 fumbles in 7 games, which is very impressive. The FF gave the Bucs a spark they desperately needed.

This was a key play because it gave the Bucs a much-needed turnover and killed off a Saints drive.

Drew Brees 33 yd TD pass to Alvin Kamara: 0:55 Q2

After the Bucs gave the ball to the Saints with over 2 minutes left you just knew Brees was going to lead them to a score. However, it was Kamara and Fleener did the damage even if Brees was the one who passed it to them. On a 2nd and 17, Brees found Fleener 10 yards downfield and Fleener would rumble for 33 yards. The next play Brees hit Kamara on a screen who would take it to the house, making several Bucs defenders miss in the process.

This was a key play because it put the Saints back up by two possessions before the half.

Alvin Kamara 6 yd rushing TD: 9:59 Q3

The Saints wasted no time with their first possession in the second half, scoring a TD in under 4 minutes. Mark Ingram ripped off a big run into Tampa Bay territory, then Kamara followed up with a good run. A few plays later Kamara would run in untouched to stretch the lead to 23-3.

This was a key play because it would pretty much put the game out of reach for the Bucs.

Von Bell FF: 9:54 Q3

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Following the score by Kamara, the Bucs gave the ball right back. In what was a forced fumble by Von Bell technically, it was more of OJ Howard throwing the ball away, to be honest. The Saints would be set up in great field position off the first turnover of the day by the Bucs.

This was a key play because it gave the Saints great field position and killed the Bucs drive.

Drew Brees 36 yd TD pass to Ted Ginn Jr: 9:39 Q3

Just one play after the fumble recovery the Saints scored again. This time it was Drew Brees hitting a wide open Ginn Jr for a touchdown. The Saints were just adding insult to injury at this point, as they continued to score with ease and made the game 30-3.

This was a key play because the Saints were showing they could pretty much score when they wanted to.

Ryan Fitzpatrick 8 yd TD pass to Luke Stocker: 8:23 Q4

Following a muffed punt, the Bucs were set up with a very short field to go. A scramble by Fitzpatrick put the Bucs inside the Saints 10. The next play, Fitzpatrick threw to FB/TE Luke Stocker who came out of the backfield for a score. That TD was not even helpful in terms of fantasy football, it was just a consolation score. The TD was the Bucs first in over seven quarters as well.

This was a key play because the Bucs at least did not finish without a TD again and ended their TD drought.

Next: Chris Godwin Getting His Chance?

This game was painful to watch from start to finish. Frustrations boiled over and this team is looking like Raheem Morris’ that lost 10 straight to finish the season. The Bucs are undisciplined and look to be getting worse with each passing week.

Winston’s injury clearly was affecting his play, so Koetter was right in the decision to shut him down. However, contrary to what many believe I do not expect the Bucs offense to be any better under Fitzpatrick. A healthy Fitzpatrick is better than an injured Winston, but with the horrible playcalling neither stand a chance.

Mike Evans suspension is justified, but I still think he did not do anything wrong. Evans was just defending his QB which I have no problem with. However, the Bucs offense that is already struggling will find points even harder to come by next week.

The Bucs will face off against the New York Jets next week, Fitzpatrick may have extra incentive to play well next week, but it is unlikely that it will rub off on the rest of the team.

There you have it Bucs fans, the key plays from yet another heartbreaking loss, time to start thinking about the draft as the Bucs will likely be picking in the top 5.