Saints Defense Shuts Out Buccaneers In 9-0 Win On Sunday Night
The New Orleans Saints went into Tampa Bay and stunned the Buccaneers, shutting them out in a 9-0 victory thanks to a magnificent defensive performance.
With the win, the Saints improved to 7-7 in 2021. Their playoff hopes remain alive, and they handed the Buccaneers their first loss at home this season. It was the first time that a team led by Tom Brady was shut out since 2006.
The Saints were without head coach Sean Payton who was missing after he contracted COVID-19. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen served as the head coach, and while the offense struggled in this game, the defense was outstanding against a strong Buccaneers offense.
New Orleans got the ball to start the game and gained only one first down before punting. Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady nearly threw an interception, but Tampa Bay ended up punting.
Saints quarterback Taysom Hill dropped a beautiful ball to wide receiver Marquez Callaway for a big 40-yard gain on their second possession.
A five-yard rush by running back Alvin Kamara on the next play brought New Orleans into the red zone. Kicker Brett Maher's 39-yard field goal scored the first points of the game, and the Saints took a 3-0 lead.
On third down during Tampa Bay's next drive, defensive end Cameron Jordan sacked Brady to force another punt. A 34-yard return on the punt set up the Saints offense near midfield for their third drive.
Hill completed a third-down pass to Callaway for a conversion. Another deep ball to Callaway got New Orleans into the red zone for a 33-yard gain. The Saints receiver had an excellent first quarter with 88 yards over four catches.
On third-and-10, Hill hit wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith for an eight-yard gain, setting up a big decision at the end of the first quarter. They settled for a 35-yard field goal attempt instead of going for it, and Maher hit again to extend the lead to 6-0.
On Tampa Bay's third possession, the Saints defense forced another punt. Through the first 15 plays by the Buccaneers, Brady had 14 passing attempts and Tampa ran the ball only once. New Orleans went three-and-out quickly.
Tampa Bay's offense converted a pair of third downs on their next drive, but Jordan got his 100th career sack for a big stop.
The Buccaneers missed a 45-yard field goal following the sack, and the Saints offense took over. Following a first down, Hill missed Kamara for what would have been a third down conversion and the Saints punted.
Defensive end Marcus Davenport sacked Brady on third down to ruin Tampa Bay's two-minute scoring drive. The Saints ran out the clock and entered halftime with a 6-0 lead.
The Buccaneers punted again to start the second half, and each team traded three-and-outs. New Orleans gained zero net yards through their first six plays of the third.
Tampa Bay went for it on fourth-and-one at the Saints 36, but an incompletion turned the ball over on downs, and New Orleans took over. The defense continued to dominate.
The Saints offense continued to struggle, and an incompletion on third down became the third straight three-and-out. New Orleans was 2/10 on third downs after that failed conversion.
A pair of big runs by Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones brought them into Saints territory. However on third down, Jordan tackled Brady from behind to force a fumble that Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore scooped up for the first turnover of the night.
The Saints offense punted to start the fourth quarter, but New Orleans stuffed the Buccaneers on third-and-one to force another quick punt.
New Orleans needed one scoring drive to start putting the game away. They finally got a first down on a 17-yard completion to Callaway. Hill put a perfect pass in tight end Nick Vannett's hands, and it would have put the Saints in field goal range, but he dropped it. On third-and-three, Hill completed a first down to running back Mark Ingram, so the drive continued into Tampa Bay territory.
The Saints offense was stopped, but Maher hit his third field goal of the night from 42 yards out. New Orleans extended their lead to two possessions at 9-0 midway through the fourth quarter.
The Saints defense continued their unbelievable play, and defensive lineman David Onyemata sacked Brady on third down to force another three-and-out.
For the fifth time in six possessions, New Orleans went three-and-out and punted. This time, punter Blake Gillikin kicked a beautiful punt that special teamer J. T. Gray downed at the three yard-line.
After two incompletions, the Buccaneers gained six yards on third down. They went for it on fourth-and-four, and an incompletion would have turned the ball over on downs, but a defensive pass interference was called. Their drive continued.
C. J. Gardner-Johnson jumped a route and intercepted Brady to end the drive and give the Saints defense their second turnover of the game.
While the New Orleans offense still failed to do much on their next drive, they still managed to drain the time remaining to just over one minute. The clock ran out on Tampa Bay's next drive, and the shutout remained intact. The Saints won 9-0.
With the win, New Orleans remains in the playoff race. They are back up to 7-7 and have won two straight after their five-game losing streak. The offense was pitiful at times, but the defense's incredible performance was enough to escape Tampa Bay with a huge win.
Up next, the Saints play the Miami Dolphins for Monday Night Football in the Superdome at 7:20 p.m. on Dec. 27. The Dolphins are on a six-game winning streak and sit at 7-7 overall after starting 1-7 in 2021.