Auman: Buccaneers’ loss “about as disappointing as it gets”

Tom Brady and the Buccaneers were “dominated about as thoroughly as a team can be dominated” against the Saints on Sunday, Greg Auman says

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
November 09, 2020 - 9:27 am
Buccaneers Tom Brady

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After losing to the New Orleans Saints in their season-opener, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hoped to make a statement in their Week 9 rematch on Sunday Night Football. 

Well, they made a statement; it just wasn’t the good kind.

The Saints manhandled the Buccaneers, 38-3, to improve to 6-2 and take sole possession of the NFC South lead.

“[That was] about as disappointing as it gets,” The Athletic Buccaneers writer Greg Auman said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “The Bucs had set themselves up with really good expectations for this game as something that could put them in position to be the team to beat in the NFC South. They had lost to the Saints in Week 1, but you kind of could write that off maybe as Tom Brady’s first game with a new team.”

You cannot, however, write off what happened Sunday night. The Buccaneers opened the game with four three-and-outs, did not record a first down until midway through the second quarter, and were out-gained 420-194.

“They were dominated about as thoroughly as a team can be dominated,” Auman said. “Both sides of the ball. [The] 38-3 [final] doesn’t really do the game justice in terms of how lopsided this was.”

Tom Brady finished 22-of-38 for 209 yards, three interceptions and three sacks. He has five interceptions in two games against the Saints; for context, he has two interceptions in seven games against everyone else.

“That’s a big part of why things have gone wrong there [against the Saints],” Auman said.

Antonio Brown, it is worth noting, made his Buccaneers debut Sunday, finishing with three catches for 31 yards. He was one of five Bucs to finish with between five and six targets.

“He looked fine to me,” Auman said. “He made a really nice high grab. There was a ball across the middle that he caught for like a 15-yard gain. They tried to get him on a deep ball early and it looked like maybe he just didn’t finish the route. So just kind of a first step. He’s had one week of practice with the team. When he went to the Patriots and jumped right in with them, they featured him right away. Brady hit him, I think, three times in the first six plays of the game. They had a touchdown before halftime. So it wasn’t quite the same force-feeding, if you will, to get him involved, but I think they’ll just adjust to him and get more comfortable with him as a bigger part of the game plan as the season goes on here.”

The Buccaneers (6-3) will try to bounce back this Sunday on the road against Carolina (3-6). Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.