Looking back on Bucs’ victory over Saints

by Gary Shelton on January 19, 2021

in general

Arians' team won its biggest game./TIM WIRT

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

5 Thoughts

  1. It had been 6,526 days for the Bucs since their last impressive post-season win. It had been six coaches, 170 losses and more squandered draft picks than you can name. But who's counting?

2. Hey, Jameis Winston was able to throw an interception. He was willing. There were just no defensive backs within nine miles of his target.

3. Yes, it will be cold in Green Bay. But not by Green Bay standards. Still, it would be enough for John McKay to repeat his classic line: "...and the second prize is TWO weeks in Green Bay."

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4. Give Todd Bowles credit. His game plan of actually having defensive backs cover people worked like a charm. It must have shocked Drew Brees to see it.

5. The Bucs' getting Vita Vea back sounds good. But is he in condition to contribute enough?


(From Bruce Arians' Day-after Press Conference)

(On the team gaining confidence by beating the Saints): “It boosts the confidence for sure, but we went there expecting to win. It was not a shock to us that we won – we went there expecting to win. We’re such a different team than when we played back in November. Same thing – Green Bay’s a different team than we played back then, so those games don’t really matter anymore.”

(On what he thought after watching the game tapes): “Offensively, I liked the running game. I thought our offensive line protected and blocked – the tight ends, you can put them in there too. Aaron Stinnie played his tail off. Defensively, it was the takeaways. Just getting the ball away from those guys, we knew it was going to be hard, but we did a great job of it.”

(On the weather in Green Bay): “It’s just a matter of staying warm on the sideline. Every time I’ve played in Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Cleveland [or] Buffalo, nobody was cold out on the field. It’s more mental and staying warm on the sideline. We’ve got all that technology now with the heaters and everything else. It’s different, but it’s not that big of a deal for us.”

(On using Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette as a tandem): “Yeah, that’s kind of been the plan all year. Just trying to keep them both fresh. Getting RoJo back and getting him back in shape from the COVID and the finger [injury]. I think Leonard’s done a great job in his absence and ‘Ro’ (Jones II) really added a spark when he got in there, so it’s a good one-two punch.”

(On the team getting contributions from several drafted players): “I’ve got to say, Jason [Licht] is the main reason I came back in coaching. I knew how good of an evaluator he was and having worked with him. We shared the same vision – we were going to build this thing on defense. We’ll score enough points. Just building the roster the way he has and being able to get Tom [Brady], Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) and Leonard [Fournette] and still be really cap friendly with this roster that we have. We believed RoJo (Ronald Jones II) was a player – he had all that talent, it was just a matter of maturity. Can’t say enough about what Jason has done. To me, he’s Executive of the Year just pulling off all that stuff that he did.”


Offense: I'm going to go with the offensive line, which gave up only one sack and allowed the team to rush for 127 yards.

Defense: Devin White was a beast, with 11 tackles, a sack and fumble recovery. Let's count the Pro Bowl votes again.

Kicking: Ryan Succop was money again.


Quarterback: For the second straight week, Brady just missed on a few throws that would have put the game away. But he took care of the ball and was efficient. Grade: B+

Running back: Yes, there was a reason to keep Leonard Fournette around. And Ronald Jones, too. Grade: B+.

Offensive line: The vaunted Saints line was no more effective than the vaunted Redskins' line. Grade: A.

Defensive line: Not a lot of pressure, but it's hard to sack Drew Brees. Grade: D.

Linebacker: White and Lavonte David are the NFL's best duo. Grade: A.

Defensive backs: Surprise, surprise. The Bucs aren't just playing tackle-the-receiver back there. Grade: A-.

Kicking: The punt coverage knocks the grade down: Grade: D.

5 High-fives

1, Devin White.

2. Leonard Fournette.

3. Sean Murphy-Bunting.

4. Donovan Smith.

5. Tom Brady.

Jason Licht's Best 5 Moves of the Off-Season

  1. Signing Tom Brady (and letting Jameis Winston go).

2. Drafting Tristan Wirfs.

3. Trading for Rob Gronkowski.

4. Drafting Antoine Winfield.

5. Signing Leonard Fournette.

5 More Thoughts

  1. Is there a missing person's report out on Michael Thomas? He was shut out Sunday night, which sort of makes him the winner of the Chase Young-Mr. Invisible award.

2. You want to hear about a tough credit? After the game, Bob Wankel of Crossingbroad.com called Saints coach Sean Payton "a fraud." He suggested that Payton had a Hall of Fame quarterback for six years and won one Super Bowl. Ouch.

3. There have been seasons that were lost to the Bucs because of their lack of depth. If a starter got hurt, it was either start a free agent off the street or play a ham sandwich. So give credit to the Glazers (and Jason Licht) for compiling a deep roster.

4. I wonder how manly Tom Brady-Bucs jerseys have been sold in Boston this week. Probably more than Bill Belichick hoodies in Tampa Bay.

5. If the Bucs were to beat the Packers and Chiefs, would they get a Jake-from-State-Farm discount?

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