Ed-itorial: Pitch and catch, it was that easy for the Bucs against the Saints
It didn’t take Saints head coach Sean Payton to make an accurate comparison of what he had witnessed Sunday in the Superdome.
“That’s not the type of game that suits us,” said Payton. “That’s the type of game we played when we were a .500 team.”
Payton, of course was spot on.
Sunday’s game tape looked like many from 2014 thru 2016. A 439 yard, 3 touchdown pass day from quarterback Drew Brees was wasted in a 48-40 loss to Tampa Bay.
The Saints made enough mistakes on defense to last half a season.
Coverage was clearly busted on a 58 yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to DeSean Jackson.
Later in the first quarter, the Saints were clearly not ready to defend the read option.
Fitzpatrick’s fake took 9 defenders to the left. His path to the endzone right, was relatively unobstructed.
The Saints also had three roughing the passer penalties, two on defensive tackle David Onyemata.
But, the biggest problem was this — the Saints could not get any pressure on the quarterback.
Fitzpatrick had a chance to get comfortable, get into rhythm, and gain confidence. That should not be allowed to happen on the road, especially at a noisy venue such as the Superdome. “We didn’t disrupt the timing to any element of the passing game,” said Saints head coach Sean Payton.
When the Saints did blitz, they left cornerback Marshon Lattimore alone on Mike Evans. Lattimore won that battle a year ago. One year later, Evans did, in spades.
So, the Saints turn the page and suddenly early in the season, reach a key juncture.
Last season, the Saints recovered from an 0-2 start to win 11 games and the NFC South. But, those two losses were to Minnesota, who reached the NFC championship game, and to New England, who reached the Super Bowl.
No one would confuse the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Cleveland Browns with those two franchises.
When you are bad defensively, there’s a ceiling as to how far you can go. Payton referenced that in his press conference Sunday.
So, the Saints have to get their defense fixed quickly.
An 0-2 start in 2018, would be far worse than 0-2 in 2017.
It is a comparison the Saints must avoid Sunday against a team that hasn’t won since December of 2016.