When the New Orleans Saints came up with the wrong end of the Minneapolis Miracle in the divisional round of last year’s NFC playoffs, it was their defense that let them down. When the Black and Gold hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2018 season opener Sunday afternoon, it was once again their defense that let them down.
Saints came into week 1 as the biggest favorite to win with Jameis Winston serving his three game suspension and early on it looked like the Who Dat crew would make good on those projections.
Drew Brees went for 439 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions, but it wasn’t enough as the Bucs won 48-40.
It was a lagniappe kind of day on defense for the Saints who gave up 48 points to the visiting Bucs and second string quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the most since giving up 49 to the Giants back in 2015. It was also the first time in franchise history both teams scored 24 points or more.
Head Coach Sean Payton says Sunday’s defeat at the hands of Tampa Bay is the kind of game they would have lost back in 2015. “That’s not the type of game that suits us, and that’s the type of game we played in years past when we’ve been a .500 team so. Tampa Bay came ready and put it to us, they put it to us good.”
“We’ve got 24 hours, 24-hour rule in effect. We have to wipe our mind clean of this catastrophe that just happened. It’s one thing to have preseason hits, I told you it’s another thing to have live bullets. We are in the thick of things, we are in the beginning of the thick of things. We have to address ourselves and figure out who exactly we want to be.”
Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore said, “We didn’t want to put that up on the board like that, 400-something passing yards. I don’t know what his completion rate was but it was high, so we don’t want to put that on there. Now everybody thinks we’re at the bottom of the league right now just off this one game, we’ve got to build ourselves up out of that. We’ve got to climb up out of that.”
Saints quarterback Drew Brees said, “We can turn it around. We talked a lot about the first game and how important that is and we want to get off to a winning start. Unfortunately, that was not the case today. But there’s still a lot of football left to be played.”
Drew Brees set another NFL record on Sunday by throwing his 35th week one touchdown pass. He just needed a couple more of them in what’s now the eighth one-possession finish for the Saints versus the Bucs in their last nine meetings.
The Saints will look to right the ship in week two against the Cleveland Browns who are still looking for their first win since 2016. That game will kick-off Sunday at noon from the Superdome.