Photo via Buccaneers
Tom Brady (center) with Julio Jones (L) and Chris Godwin (R) after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the New Orleans Saints 17-16 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Dec. 5, 2022.
Look, I’m not going to sit here and pretend not to be impressed with Tom Brady doing his usual thing by orchestrating another game-winning drive to give the Bucs a much-needed 17-16 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.
It was really cool, and a thing that hasn’t happened a lot over the history of the Bucs as a franchise. There’s no other QB in the history of this team that could have done that.
Still, the Tampa Bay offense’s performance through the first three-and-a-half quarters was absolutely atrocious. It scored three whole points and looked lifeless for the majority of the game.
The Surrender Index Twitter account
ranked Head Coach Todd Bowles among the most cowardly in the history of football.
Plus, the Bucs putting up 17 points over their past two games might be just enough to push the team into the bottom-five of scoring offenses in the NFL (Tampa Bay was at sixth worst in the NFL at 18.2 points per game heading into Monday’s matchup).
But Tampa Bay did score when its back was against the wall.
Despite an interception, the GOAT threw a pair of touchdowns in the final frame, including the game-winning toss to rookie back Rachaad White. Rookie tight end Cade Otton caught the other.
This game is not an indication that the Bucs are back, or that they are a Super Bowl contender again. No, this was just a case of the Bucs barely beating a really bad football team.
The Saints showed just how awful they are on both sides of the ball with weird play calls like the single high safety that allowed Bucs receiver Mike Evans to get one-on-one coverage down the field and earn a pass interference call to set up the first touchdown.
New Orleans even decided to throw the ball a couple times near the end of the game, allowing Tampa Bay to conserve the clock and timeouts.
This game was fun, but it’s still also a reality check. Tampa Bay got the victory and got back at .500, but these kinds of performances aren’t likely to fly against actual NFL teams.
Sides like the Eagles and the Vikings—potential playoff matchups if the Bucs hold on to first-place in the cellar that is the NFC South—can easily score more than 17 points and aren’t going to have nearly the amount of trouble putting these kinds of games away.
Fire those cannons, but let’s not get too excited about it just because Tom Brady managed to put together another wonderful end-of-game drive.
Tampa Bay is still a bad football team.