Can you invoke the Mercy Rule at the halfway point of a season? Asking for 53 friends, along with their coaches, trainers, equipment people, and the guys who take care of the Gatorade.
Saints 30 – Bucs 10
Long story short? The New Orleans Saints are on fire. A six-game winning streak, quarterback Drew Brees having a career year, and the team duking it out with division rival Carolina for supremacy of the NFC South.
As for the Bucs? They are a fire. A trash fire. A dumpster fire. A slow-motion dumpster fire with bionic sound effects and Wilhelm Screams echoing far and wide across the land. The nicest term I can come up with to describe their overall performance against the Saints? “Ineffective.” Does Hallmark have a card for something like that?
QB Jameis Winston and the Tampa offense were never able to find anything resembling a gear, and that was before Winston had to leave the game just before halftime with an apparent shoulder injury. Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick was left to fend off the lions…uh, I mean Saints as combat continued, and he even managed to guide the Bucs to a late game TD, but by then the writing was on the wall.
As for the defense? They may as well have brought Brees room service during those few occasions anyone was able to get anywhere near him. I don’t even want to talk about the absolutely spectacular failure to stop New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara during a 33-yard scamper to pay dirt, with seemingly every member of the Bucs defense along with a handful of random fans from the stands able to put a hand on him without bringing him down.
And if that wasn’t enough? The Saints were able to block a Tampa punt and return that for a touchdown, and Winston – prior to his departure – started a fight on the sidelines. Because I guess “Why the hell not?” at this point, amirite?
The loss is Tampa’s fifth in a row, dropping them to 2-6 at their season’s halfway mark. This includes two consecutive losses to division rivals, so I suppose they’re clear to start shopping for Super Bowl tickets at StubHub, or making sure they’ve got some decent wings and chips lined up for the watch party they’ll having at One Buc Place.
Next up? Back home next Sunday to host the New York Jets, and possibly with Fitzpatrick starting for the (as of this writing) questionable Winston. Should be a wonderful nap inducer.
Bucs life. Ugh.