Tampa, Fla. – Drew Breeze vs. Tom Brady, and the fight for dominance of the NFC South is an arbitrary affair.
Breeze threw for 222 yards and four touchdowns, regained an NFL career TD pass lead and lifted the New Orleans Saints to a 38-3 lead Sunday night with a 38-3 win over Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The three-time defending division champion won their fifth consecutive game, intercepting Brady three times and completing a season sweep of the Bucks (6-3), who suffered a double loss in New Orleans in Week 1.
“Every time you can win and find different ways to win, it builds confidence and nurtures the moment,” Breece said.
“Obviously, tonight is a great night,” he added. “In three stages, it’s very unusual.”
The Saints (6-2) were not perfect – spinning the ball twice – although the offense was very effective with the return of receivers Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Saunders in the lineup, and the defense played its best game this season.
Truequan Smith had 14 yards of first-half TD throws, Adam Trottman had 8 yards, Saunders had 12 yards and Kovid-19 missed the previous two games on the list. Josh Hill, 41, added 3 yards to make it 38-0 with just nine minutes left.
“It’s a big game, divisional opponent, we know Tampa plays very well,” said Breece, who missed a dilemma in Tampa Bay’s single story, but did not interrupt.
“We ‘ve been a little bit over the last few weeks … tonight, it’s good to get everyone back together,” Breeze added. “We wanted to extend the ball, we wanted to play complementary football. I can not say enough about our defense, they played exceptionally well.”
The Breeze League career TD Pass regained the lead with 654, three more than the 43-year-old Brady, who threw for 17 touchdowns and had just one interruption in his previous six games. The Saints blocked Brady twice in a 34-23 season-early win, with Janoris Jenkins returning one for a TD.
Defensive tackle David Onimata and security Marcus Williams and Malcolm Jenkins picked Brady this time – the last time he threw wildly in the middle of the Super Bowl six times.
“We didn’t play well at any stage of the game,” Brady said.
“Everyone has to do very well,” Bucks Quarterback added, “it starts with me.”
Brady was sacked three times and completed 22 of 38 for 209 yards, while Antonio Brown completed three of 31 yards, making his debut for Tampa Bay, who returned from an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct.
Bucks ran the ball just five times, with Blaine Gabert kneeling at the last minute of the night.
The Saints scored five runs in their first six innings to take a 31-0 halftime lead, and the Bucks were lucky the first half deficit was not large in Brady’s career.
Jared Cook stormed into a 7-0 lead for the Saints at Bucks 2. But with Tampa Bay’s offense erupting and one of the league’s toughest defenses failing to slow down the Breeze, New Orleans came out on top.
“It’s the most complete game we’ve ever played … it’s poetry on the move as we go,” said Alvin Camara, the Saints running back.
Brady’s first interception ended the Bucks franchise-record streak without 200 consecutive pass attempts, leading to Kamara’s 1-yard TD run, which went 28-0 midway through the second quarter.
The Saints had by then surpassed the Bucks’ 241 yards to 36. They added Will Lootz’s 36-yard field goal and a second interception when Marcus Williams hit a deep throw intended for Brown in the opening half-minute minutes.
Tampa Bay avoided a shutout with 5:52 left with Ryan Sukap’s 48-yard field goal.
Arians asked why he kept Brady in the game in the wake of a strong pass rush, with the Bucks trailing by 38 points.
“To get points on board,” Arians said. “He’s a quarterback.”
Former Bucks quarterback James Winston was replaced by Robert Brady after the Saints turned the ball down on a last-minute filling for the Breeze.
BRADY / BREES
Breeze and Brady, ranked first and second on the Career Passing Yards list, met only for the seventh time. Breeze has a 5-2 margin in match-ups.
The two chatted briefly on the field after the game.
“Have we been playing with each other for 22 years? So, there is a lot of respect there, ”said Breeze.
“Throughout our careers, I’ll feel grateful to both of you for giving me this opportunity to play this great game,” said Breeze. “Playing as long as we can, playing great, great coaches, great players. So, thank you for that.”
Running in place
Tampa Bay set an NFL record with just five running attempts at 38-3 at the hands of New Orleans, in which backup quarterback Blaine Gabert got to his knees at the last minute of the night. Ronald Jones ran three times for 9 yards, Leonard Fournet had a carry without a profit, and Robert lost one yard, while Tampa Bay ran for 8 yards. The previous lowest run-scoring record was six, four times earlier and most recently set by Buffalo in Minnesota 2018.
Saints: WR played for the first time after suffering a high ankle sprain in the Saints’ season-early win over Michael Thomas Bucks. He finished with five receptions for 51 yards.
Buccaneers: WR Chris Godwin (three catches, 41 yards) returns after missing a game with a broken right index finger. … LG Ali Marpet (concussion) is inactive. Joe Hague replaced him in the starting lineup.
Saints: 49 people at home on Sunday.
Buccaneers: Sunday in Carolina.