Saints: Winners and losers from Week 8 win over Buccaneers
By Kristen Wong
Loser: Sean Payton
There’s no doubt that Sean Payton is one of the greatest play-callers in the league, so how did he get this so wrong?
At the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter, Payton called two passing plays on first and second downs at Tampa Bay’s 9-yard line. Both those plays ended in incomplete passes, which gave Tom Brady 1:41 (which is way too much time) to complete a potentially game-winning drive.
On top of that, the Bucs didn’t have to use their timeouts since Siemian’s passes went incomplete, allowing Brady and Tampa’s offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich to regroup and draw up a clinical plan of attack.
Those passing play calls were simply a bad move by Payton (what on Earth was he thinking?), and it could have lost the Saints the game. Had Payton chose to run it with Kamara or even Ingram instead, he’d knock off valuable seconds off the clock and put Brady under more pressure.
Payton has decided games before with his questionable play-calling, but he has to get it together for the second half of the season. New Orleans won’t be so lucky next time.
Loser: Tight ends
Another week, another disappointing performance from New Orleans’ tight ends.
Adam Trautman made some key blocking plays, but on the receiving end, he recorded just two catches for a measly four yards. Juwan Johnson hardly made an impact; Garret Griffin played the best game of them all with three catches for 30 yards.
The theme of New Orleans’ 2021 season has been, “In desperate need of a quality receiving target,” and with the WR room underperforming enough as it is, the Saints’ tight ends need to do better.
Loser: Tom Brady
Brady isn’t on the Saints, but it feels good to see “Brady” and “loser” in the same sentence.
Tom Brady turned over the ball three times this game on a pair of interceptions and a fumble. He lost his third regular-season game to the Saints since joining the NFC South, and that fact should spread exuberant joy and merriment across the city of New Orleans. Usually, Brady faces a worthier opponent in Drew Brees, but this time, against a ragtag duo of Jameis Winston and Trevor Siemian, Brady still fell short.
Brady’s Bucs did knock the Saints out in the divisional round of last year’s playoffs, so the 44-year-old may have the last laugh. But during the regular season at least, the Saints could be his new Dolphins. New Orleans know exactly how to play him.
NOLA fought and clawed their way to a deserved win against Tampa Bay, but they’ll need to count their losses. Winston’s knee injury looks serious. With Hill’s status unclear for Week 9 against the Atlanta Falcons, the Saints will likely stick with Siemian for the time being.
Siemian now has a 14-12 record, and he understood what was expected of him on Sunday (e.g. turnover-free ball). The Saints’ offense will be limited with him, but they may also be worse off with someone else (Cam Newton? No way.)
Nothing new was revealed about the Saints: this team continues to lean heavily on its defense and run game. Their Week 8 result does allow New Orleans to gain crucial ground in the NFC South where they sit one win behind Tampa Bay.
A snapshot of the Saints’ season thus far: beat the Bucs and the Packers, lost to the Giants and the Panthers. Doesn’t make much sense now, does it?
After Week 8, New Orleans may want to send a thank you card to the Bucs, who basically handed them this victory on a silver platter. Here’s to Brady forever playing a bad game against NOLA.