At Tampa Bay
1:00 p.m. ET
• Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter actually had a very good game plan for this contest. Defensively, the Buccaneers knew the Saints lack a true vertical threat on offense, and as a consequence, the Buccaneers did a good job of crowding the line of scrimmage and taking away a lot of easy underneath throws that Saints quarterback Drew Brees typically makes. On offense, the Buccaneers continue to challenge the Saints corners and had success doing so in the first half.
• From last season until now, the Saints have done a good job of not only remaking their defense, but they also have improved on special teams. In this contest, Saints backup quarterback Taysom Hill’s blocked punt changed the momentum in this game. Since coming back from injury, Saints wide receiver and punt returner Tommy Lee Lewis also has had a favorable impact on special teams.
• Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston did a very good job today of keeping the Saints defense working hard to make plays. Winston has a lot of athleticism moving around in the pocket, but in the second half, the Saints made excellent defensive adjustments and the Buccaneers’ offense did not. While fans are familiar with the resiliency of the Saints’ offense, it is their defense that has been improving over the course of the last two seasons and now is among the league’s better units.
• Saints quarterback Drew Brees has struggled the last two weeks, and the principal reason is because defenses appeared to have crowded the shorter throws, and have challenged him to take deeper shots. That would be difficult for Brees considering the Saints lack a true vertical threat. It will be interesting to see how this plays out for the Saints in the postseason.