Welcome everyone to the latest edition of #4Downs where I break down what went right and what went wrong for the New Orleans Saints! This week, I look at the Saints dominant win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
1st Down: #NeverPunt
It seems like each year, the Saints opponents continue to learn a lesson that Steve Gleason taught us all back in 2006: #NeverPunt. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers learned that the hard way in the first quarter when Justin Hardee returned a punt that he blocked midway through the first quarter.
The best part about all this is the fact that every time the Saints do this, you get Gleason to put out the hashtag on Twitter to throw his particular brand of shade.
— Steve Gleason (@TeamGleason) November 5, 2017
2nd Down: More Fumble-aya
Through the first four weeks of the season, the Saints had incredible control of the ball, not committing a turnover. The last four games, you’d think this team was running a bakery with how many they’ve had since the Detroit Lions game.
It happened again, this time to Alvin Kamara and Willie Snead. Kamara wound up redeeming himself with 152 total yards offensively and two scores, but the more confusing one was Snead being the punt returner on that particular play and gave the Bucs perfect field position to get a touchdown in garbage time. Why was Snead out taking the punt return late in the ballgame, when I can’t think of a time before Sunday that he even attempted to do that?
It’s something that has been plaguing the Saints and if not for the quality of opponents as of late being towards the bottom of the rankings, they might be a far cry from 6-2.
3rd Down: Bringing Pressure
The Saints defense continued to shine on Saturday, especially when they brought the pressure with four sacks, 1.5 of those coming from Cam Jordan. The front seven kept Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick within grasp and that was a key reason for the Saints coming away with the win.
Another thing that helped was that Winston had been hindered from a few weeks prior with a shoulder injury. The former Seminole has soldiered through it and that deserves some respect, but when the defense can cause some more soreness after a few hits to the ground, it’s like blood in the water to a defense that wants to wreak havoc between the trenches.
4th Down: Poor Sports
This frustrated me when I saw it live and it goes without saying that the Buccaneers looked like sore losers before the final whistle blew. After Von Bell forced another three and out, Winston began to heckle rookie corner Marshon Lattimore. Keep in mind that Winston was removed from the action at this point and should’ve stayed on the sideline.
Right after Lattimore looks over at Winston after he touched his helmet, Mike Evans completely blindsided the rookie well after the play was over. Looking at what happened in another game during the day with AJ Green going off on Jalen Ramsey, how were both players not ejected? I try not to complain about missed calls, but this is more along the lines of trying to make sure this isolated incident doesn’t escalate any further.
The league office will need to levy down some kind of punishment after that ordeal.