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Sunday night’s NFC South matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints went entirely against predictions as the Bucs were held to zero points and the Saints pulled off an upset, 9-0.
Holding arguably the NFL’s leading offense to zero points warrants all credit to the Saints defense: relentless in their pursuit of Brady with four sacks and having a command on the game’s pace.
Contributing to Brady’s goose egg was the lack of offensive options after Chris Godwin, Mike Evan and Leonard Fournette all left the contest early with injuries. Adding Antonio Brown in the mix as an unavailable target kept Brady throwing to the likes of Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller — combining for 59 yards receiving.
Deficient support for Brady was the story of the night as the veteran QB was evidently furious by the lack of output on offense — unable to defeat a Saints team holding its breath on making the playoffs this year.
Even with his departure in the second quarter, Godwin led the Bucs in receiving for the night: catching six passes for 49 yards.
Brady finished completing 26 of 48 passes for 214 yards and an interception. He attempted to get his trusted connection with tight end Rob Gronkowski going with 11 targets but he only completed two of them for 29 yards.
A premier offensive line in Tampa couldn’t stop Cameron Jordan, Demario Davis and the rest of the Saints defense. Cornerback CJ Gardner-Johnson had a game-sealing pick on Brady with less than four minutes left as the game felt within the Bucs’ reach all night. However, the sentiment never materialized into a single point.
The Bucs’ only shot at getting on the scoreboard came from a march down to the Saints’ territory where kicker Ryan Succop set up and missed the 46-yard attempt.
Saints quarterback Taysom Hill was a non-factor: completing 13-of-27 for 154 yards. Running back Alvin Kamara tiptoed his way to 18 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Week 15 was the first time Brady had been held to zero points since 2006 and is his third career shutout. The Bucs hold still at 10-4 while the Saints improve to .500 (7-7) on the season.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela