Buccaneers vs. Saints: Tampa Bay needs to abandon the run

Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)
Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady had an excellent opening drive, but they need to abandon the run if they want to win the game.

A single drive doesn’t define a game, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense was firing on all cylinders on their opening series that was capped off by a Tom Brady rushing touchdown.

After that drive, Tampa Bay’s offense started to stagnate, and that was largely due to their questionable reliance on the run.

Even though Tom Brady’s arm was looking sufficiently strong, Tampa Bay opened up most of their drives with an ineffective run. Ronald Jones had 12 carries in the first half, a number that he rarely reached even in a full game last season, yet he only averaged 2.2 yards per carry.

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The Buccaneers ran into this issue last season, where the first play of most drives was often wasted due to an early low-percentage run. Tampa Bay will not be able to compete with New Orleans’ high-powered offense at this rate, and they will need to reevaluate their game plan during halftime if they want to flip the script.

The best way to remedy the efficiency problem is to rely on the pass in the second half. Instead of running up the middle on first down, the Bucs need to attempt exponentially more passes. Tampa Bay signed the greatest quarterback of all time and surrounded him with the best receiving corps of his career, and they only attempted 12 passes in the first half.

Brady and the rest of the offense still have some growing to do, and these issues were expected, but Brady and his receivers can’t improve if they don’t get any chances.

This game is still within reach for the Buccaneers, but some sweeping changes need to occur before the second half if there is any hope for a comeback.