TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians had a bigger concern Sunday night than the Buccaneers’ failure to clinch their first division title since 2007.
The list of injured players in the 9–0 loss to the New Orleans Saints included wide receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, and running back Leonard Fournette.
“It hurts more than losing all the players we’ve lost,” Arian said. “We lost about seven starts in this game.”
Godwin (knee) and Evans (hamstring) move into the second quarter. Fournet (hamstring) is out in the third.
Quarterback Tom Brady said, “A lot of people got banged up tonight but it’s part of football.” “So, to try and figure out who can go in and fill some roles and play great football.”
Books linebacker Lavonte David also departed after suffering a leg injury.
Ariane had no postgame updates regarding injuries.
New Orleans (7-7) beat the Bucs (10-4) for the seventh time in a row during the regular season – the fourth since Brady left New England for Tampa Bay in 2020.
“He has a really good defense, a really good plan, which is hard to go against,” said Brady, who sat on the bench late in the game and threw a tablet to the ground in despair.
The Bucks, who won a playoff game on their way to their Super Bowl title in New Orleans last January, lead the NFC South by three games with three weeks remaining in the regular season.
New Orleans closed out the NFL’s No. 1 passing and scoring offense, and ended Brady’s streak of 255 consecutive starts (including playoff games) without a shutdown.
“Between the offense and the kicking game, it cost us the game,” Arian said. “The defense played well enough to win.”
Tampa Bay defeated the Saints 302-212. New Orleans had only 11 first-downs and 3 out of 18 (18.8%) on third-down conversions.
But Brett Maher’s three field goals provided the margin of victory for the Saints.
The Buccaneers will get some reinforcements for next Sunday’s game in Carolina. Wide receiver Antonio Brown and safety Mike Edwards both served the final game of a three-game suspension on Sunday for using fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.
Ariane said the team is welcoming the pair back.
“It is in the best interest of our football team,” Arians said. “Both of those guys have given their time.”
Notes: Bux’s Jordan Whitehead returned to the lineup after missing two games, but s Antoine Winfield Jr. (legs), CB Jemel Dean (illness) and CB Richard Sherman (Achilles) were inactive. … Fournet led the Bucs with seven receptions for 33 yards. Godwin took six catches for 49 yards.
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