Even though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost in Week 3, anyone who paid attention saw a team that was better than the 14-point margin of defeat. If anything, the fact that the Bucs were able to pull within two touchdowns said a lot about the team's talent and we saw an extension of that on Sunday in New Orleans.
It was a blowout in the Superdome, with the Bucs absolutely dominating the Saints on every level. Things got so bad that New Orleans took a hobbled Derek Carr out of the game in the fourth quarter because things were so hopelessly out of reach. It's impossible to overstate how cathartic that feeling was for Bucs fans who watched the Saints beat them up in the regular season over the last few seasons.
Not only did the Bucs quiet even more doubters -- once again -- but they took control of the NFC South in commanding fashion heading into their bye week.
Tampa Bay is 3-1 and in first place. Any bad taste left in the Bucs mouth after Monday's loss was washed out. Needless to say, Bucs fans were quick to celebrate and dunk on the Saints after the convincing victory.
Best memes and reactions from Bucs fans after 26-9 win over Saints
Tampa Bay heads into its bye week alone atop the NFC South, full stop.
For all that was said about the team over the offseason, things are clicking in ways that almost no expert predicted. Sunday's win marked the first time series history that the Bucs have won three straight games against the Saints -- which, to Cam Jordan's point, seems to indicate that this isn't the rivalry people tend to think it is.