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Saints, Bucs Week 1: Observations from the cheap seats

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A look at the New Orleans Saints 2018 season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and in the cheap seats.

New Orleans Saints fans are beginning to wish the season could start no earlier than Week 2. The Saints were absolutely shellacked in yet another season opener. This time, the loss was at the hands of our division foes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The 48-40 score isn’t remotely indicative of how poorly the Saints played, particularly on defense. Tampa Bay was comfortably up 48-24 before the Saints gamely tried to stage a comeback, only to be thwarted by yet another defensive lapse.

The Saints traded blows with the Bucs through the middle portion of the second quarter. Tampa jumped ahead with a 10-play drive for a TD, then scored two plays later taking a fumble recovery in for a touchdown.

The Saints closed the gap to one TD to close out the first half, but continued rough play on defense and a sluggish offense doomed their second half. The Saints didn’t score again until just under nine minutes were left in the game. By that time, the Buccaneers had scored 17 unanswered points.

This Saints defense, which had looked so strong to finish the 2017 season was but a shell of that group. The additions of Demario Davis, Kurt Coleman, and Patrick Robinson, as well as the return of Alex Anzalone, were supposed to buoy this defense. Giving up nearly 50 points and over 500 yards to a team that finished last in the division last season doesn’t instill much confidence.

Offensively, the Saints scored 40 points, which should be enough to win any game. Even removing the late scores borne of the all-out air attack, 24 points were scored early and with our expected defense should have been enough to win or be close to winning.

But the Saints offense even went to sleep for the early part of the second half. While the overall play of the offense wasn’t terrible, there was a bit more pressure on Drew Brees than we’d like to see.

Overall, this team has a long way to go before they are ready to make even a playoff run, much less a Super Bowl run. That’s the negative. The positive is we only have to look back at last season to see what’s possible. But, boy, it’s getting old having to come from a deficit.

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