Saints Win Over Brady & Bucs Proves Why National Media Hyped the Wrong Team


Photo Credit: New Orleans Saints on

“Don’t believe the hype”. For the past 6 months, fans of the New Orleans Saints have been subject to the relentless amount of overblown propaganda from many members of the National Media that cover the NFL, regarding the team’s division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers — and that team’s potential to win a Super Bowl — after they signed former 6-time Super Bowl-winning QB Tom Brady.

However after yesterday’s hard-fought season-opening victory by the Black and Gold over those same Bucs and Brady at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, it became apparent that perhaps the “talking heads” were hyping up the wrong team all along; and should have been promoting a Saints team that still remains as one of the League’s very best.

As it was, the 34-23 win over Tampa certainly wasn’t exactly a “work of art” or very pretty by any means.

Yet when the dust had finally settled, New Orleans was able to clearly demonstrate why they and not their upstart divisional foe, are still one of the top teams in the sport and a favorite to win a World Championship.

The Saints arguably still have one of the most deepest and talented roster of players among any single one of the NFL’s 32 teams, and eventually that became evident in spite of their underwhelming start to Sunday evening’s long-anticipated contest.

The Bucs jumped on the Saints early and took a quick 7-0 lead on a 1-yard TD run by Brady on their opening offensive possession, but it was actually Tampa Bay’s defense that provided the initial spark which allowed them to gain an immediate upper-hand.

Photo Credit: New Orleans Saints on

The Saints offense struggled early and were forced to punt on their first two drives to start the game, but it was the Buccaneers “all-star” offense that ultimately started to have issues; in what clearly seemed to be a Tampa team that is still trying to find some cohesion on that side of the ball due to a lack of playing time with one another.

The Bucs offensive scheme with Brady at the helm appears to still be a proverbial “work in progress”, even though the former New England Patriots star still managed to put together a decent stat-line of 23 of 36 completed-passes for 239 yards and 2 TD passes to go along with his 1st Quarter TD run.

But on several occasions Brady had to look at the list of plays that he had taped on to the wrist of his non-throwing hand. to help him remember what calls to make in the huddle and what cadence to use at the line of scrimmage prior to the snap of the ball.

It seemed as if at times that Brady and his receivers could just never get on the same page, and New Orleans deserves kudos from all of the so-called experts that had written them off, for exploiting (and exposing) just how much further that Brady and the Bucs “Dream Team” (as some of those same experts even referred to them as), still have to go to legitimately earn their status as Super Bowl favorites.

“We have to learn from it and do a better job. You’re not going to beat good teams by making mistakes. I’m going to focus on what I have to do and that’s doing a better job,” Brady said to reporters after the game had ended. “It’s going to come down to mental toughness and urgency, but not turning the ball over would be a good start.”

“It certainly was poor execution,” Brady continued. “That’s what it comes down to. It’s a game of execution and obviously they made more plays than we did and I made some bad, terrible turnovers and it’s hard to win turning the ball over like that. Obviously, I’ve got to do a much better job.

“They were bad throws. That’s what it comes down to. Bad throws. Can’t do it.”

Because of the months-long affects of the coronavirus / COVID-19 health crisis, Brady and his still-fairly new Buccaneers teammates were unable to conduct their normal off-season schedules for the past several months (including all of the training and physical conditioning sessions for the players); and it was always believed by some that their lack of time having played together thus far could potentially create some early struggles for them initially.

Based on what we saw at the Superdome after the Buccaneers scored that  first touchdown early in the 1st Quarter, that appeared to be the case.

While many League observers and certainly the Buccaneers fan-base themselves were extremely “hyped” and overly excited about the prospects of Tampa becoming an overnight Super Bowl favorite under Brady’s on-the-field guidance and head coach Bruce Arians’ notable expert ability at implementing proven offensive concepts, several Bucs players including Brady himself — previously acknowledged weeks prior to yesterday’s showdown, that things might not necessarily get off to a perfect start.

That said, the Saints were able to take advantage in a wide variety of different aspects, something that outside of the nice performance by their defense, Tampa was unable to match.

It started for New Orleans on defense, and while the Saints secondary did get flagged several times for being a bit too aggressive in their pass coverage techniques against the Bucs WR’s, they also managed to come up with two big interceptions.

One of those interceptions included a 36-yard “Pick 6” TD pick by #2 CB Janoris Jenkins – who along with #1 CB Marshon Lattimore – essentially “locked down” the Tampa Bay All-Pro receiving duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

The Saints defensive line also had a stout performance with 3 sacks, and 4th year defensive end  Trey Hendrickson had a phenomenal performance in the absence of injured starter Marcus Davenport. The Saints linebacker corps led by Demario Davis and Alex Anzalone, also had stellar performances and were a big part of the reason why the Black and Gold were able to limit the Bucs to only 86 rushing yards total.

On top of that even the Saints Special Teams got into the act, with kick returner / wide receiver Deonte Harris giving the team great field position with several nice pint returns; while defensive lineman Margus Hunt contributed a blocked field-goal attempt and WR and kick-coverage ace Bennie Fowler added a fumble recovery on a kickoff.

With all of those facets of the team coming together in a concerted effort, the Saints offense then got itself back on track later on during the 2nd Half, with big plays turned in by RB Alvin Kamara, TE Jared Cook, and WR Emmanuel Sanders.

Once again, it wasn’t a perfect performance by any means.

But overall, it was a team performance that was still good enough to beat the alleged Super Bowl favorite in the NFC, according to the members of the National Media; the very same National Media that as you read this article this morning, isn’t likely to “hype” Brady and the Buccaneers quite nearly as much as they had before yesterday’s game.

Brady himself seemed resolute to that much after the game’s conclusion. “Anytime you turn the ball over like we did, you don’t get an opportunity out there to make plays, and we just came up short,” Brady said. “There’s no excuses. We’re the only ones that can do something about it.”

“The Saints kind of played how they always play.”

Photo Credit: New Orleans Saints on

Indeed, the Saints did just that. And as a reward, they have a one-game lead over the entire division as the NFC South’s lone winner yesterday.

The Black and Gold wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but they were still good enough to beat the one team that’s relentlessly been shoved down the throats of NFL fans ad nauseam for the last several months.

So “don’t believe the hype”.

Because the Saints win yesterday over Brady and the Bucs proved why the National Media hyped the wrong team — since the team that they should have been hyping has always been right here in New Orleans, all along…

Barry Hirstius is a semi-retired journalist, who has worked previously as a sports editor and columnist. Barry is a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the Saints while attending their games as a young boy during the early 1970’s, uptown at the old Tulane Stadium. He is also the proud Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryHirstius

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