Saints Report: Third time’s not the charm for Saints against Tampa Bay Bucs

For all the heartbreak that came from the New Orleans Saints losing on the final play of the game in three straight post-season exits, Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers comes with a different kind of heartbreak in what could be the end of an era.

Third time’s not the charm for the Saints, who beat their NFC South rival by a combined score of 72-26 during the regular season, only to turn the ball over four times in Sunday’s 30-20 defeat, three Drew Brees interceptions and an awfully-timed Jared Cook fumble, good for a turnover differential of minus four, after not having any game worse than minus two all season long.

In an otherwise evenly matched game, Tom Brady and the Bucs scored the final 17 points of the second half. It certainly didn’t help that Michael Thomas was held without a single catch.

Plenty of mutual respect on display between the combined 85-year-old quarterbacks, in what could be the swan song for the 42-year-old Brees, who says despite finishing three wins shy of another Super Bowl, no regrets. Defensive End Cameron Jordan said, “He’s got one Super Bowl. I mean that’s phenomenal to say he’s won one, but there’s been a couple times where it’s been within our grasp and us as a team has failed him, us as a team just didn’t reach the heights that we wanted to and it’s really going to go down – especially this year – it’s going to go down as one of my all-time more fond teammates, one of my most fun times of being a Saint. This locker room is special. The way we grew together as a defense, the way the offense corralled this year and for us to fall short, all of it sucks and hurts and you think about again, Drew. What he went through this last season, what he went through this season. I want more for myself, I want more for us as a team, I want more for him.”

Brees said, “I would never regret it. Never. No complaints, no regrets. Man, I’ve always tried to play this game with a great respect and a great reverence for it. And man, you find out so much about yourself and you have to fight through so much when you play this game. I say this season, we probably had to fight through more than we had to in any other season in my career. From injury to all the COVID stuff to just crazy circumstances, man, it was worth every moment of it.”

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