After watching Sunday’s Saints-Buccaneers game inside the Mercedes Benz Superdome, how can you not love what this team is doing without their leader in Drew Brees?
I also came away with a renewed sense of belief in both the offense and defense following their respective performances.
Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans is known as one of the best in the league. But on Sunday he was never a factor at all. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore covered Evans for the majority of the afternoon, preventing the star receiver from catching any balls.
In fact, if you take away the final Buccaneer offensive drive where they scored the touchdown making the score 31-24, Tampa quarterback Jameis Winston had only 126 yards through the air. If that isn’t efficient for a Saints defense, then I don’t know what is.
Also, when it came to slowing down rushers, the Saints did a great job at that also. A week after holding arguably the best running back in the league in Ezekiel Elliott to just 38 yards, the black and gold held Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber to 35 and 32 yards, respectively.
It is also a good day at the office when you notch six sacks on the day, with two coming from second-year pro Marcus Davenport. During one of his sacks he absolutely bull-rushed a Tampa lineman, pushing him back with incredible strength before getting to Winston. Let’s just say it fired up the 70,000-plus in the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
Finally, looking at the offense, it has become quite apparent that Teddy Bridgewater is still improving at his craft. I know that I was a bit skeptical of him after he helped pick up the win in Seattle and in last week’s victory over Dallas.
But did he ever take a major step forward Sunday. I know that his game wasn’t perfect, but it was still very good.
He got a huge boost from receiver Michael Thomas, who lived up to his nickname of ‘Can’t Guard Mike’ with 11 catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns. And some of those catches were on down-the-field throws from Bridgewater, who looks to be slowly incorporating that aspect of his passing game back into his arsenal.
He is not only impressing me, but also many in the Who Dat Nation who began chants of ‘Teddy, Teddy, Teddy’ throughout the stadium Sunday. He finished with more than 300 yards through the air and four touchdown passes.
I’m still hoping that Drew Brees returns soon from his injury because the offense runs a lot smoother with him at the helm. But in the meantime, I am going to sit back and enjoy the improved play of Bridgewater, because when the time comes for him to take the reins full time, I know that the work he is putting in now will only benefit him down the road.