NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - That sound you heard late Sunday night was the New Orleans Saints' dropping a hammer on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
What it certainly was not … was the cannons on the pirate ship in the end zone at Raymond James Stadium. Those guns, which typically are fired to celebrate a Bucs touchdown, were silenced throughout the Saints' stunning 38-3 victory.
The Saints didn’t just beat the Bucs. They embarrassed them. On their home field. In front of a massive national television audience.
Drew Brees dominated Tom Brady in the matchup of 40-something, future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. He threw a season-high four touchdown passes and completed throws to a franchise-record 12 receivers. He improved his career record to 5-2 against Brady while handing him the worst loss of his legendary 21-year career.
And the Saints defense was just as dominant. They intercepted Brady three times and harassed him throughout the night, holding Tampa Bay to a season-low 194 yards, the fifth fewest allowed by the Saints in the Payton-Brees era.
I’ve covered the Saints for two decades, longer than any journalist in the country. And Sunday’s blowout was as thorough and dominant a performance as I’ve ever seen.
All things considered -- the quality of the opponent, the venue and the high-stakes involved … you could argue that it was the most impressive game of the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era.
And I’m not the only one who was awestruck.
Football Outsiders, an advanced analytics website that has covered the NFL since 2003, said it was the best single-game statistical performance by an NFL team in this century.
And it pretty much came out of nowhere, on the heels of three consecutive nail-biting wins.
Few saw this coming. I certainly didn’t. I picked the Bucs to win game. In fact, I thought they might do it handily.
I’ve never been more wrong. And the Saints have never more impressive.
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