The Bucs came out swinging in their first home game of the season and hit a home run. The Buc defense looked like the defense of old and the offense, led by Jeff Garcia and Joey Galloway, got big play after another in a crushing defeat of the New Orleans Saints. The Bucs came out and physically dominated the Saints on both sides of the ball. If the Bucs continue to play this way they will be in every game.
The tone was set early by the Buc defense, which came out hitting hard and being physical. The Bucs stressed the need to be physical in this game and they showed it. Barrett Ruud continued his great play causing 2 fumbles, recovering one, and tackling everyone in sight. Middle linebacker was a big question mark going into the season with Quarles retiring and Ruud only starting 4 games. Rudd has responded and shown that he may be the next great middle linebacker in the Buc system. The rest of the linebackers joined in with Ruud to dominate the Saints. Derrick Brooks also had a great day after many thought he lost a step after missing a couple of plays last week. Although the Saints recovered, Brooks did cause Bush to fumble the ball on a very hard hit. Cato June had an interception and was flying around the ball all game.
The rest of the defense showed up physical as well. Jermaine Phillips and Tanard Jackson were flying around the ball and were making the wide outs and running backs pay for every catch and every yard. Phillips leveled McAllister a couple of times and seemed to be around every wide out that caught the ball. Sammy Davis, who the Bucs signed on Wednesday to replace David Boston, was forced to be the number 2 corner after Phillip Buchanon went out of the game with a wrist injury. Davis looked good in coverage most of the game, but did miss a tackle in the red zone to allow Colston to score. The defensive line pushed the Saints backwards and finally created pressure on the quarterback. The Bucs had not gotten much pressure from the front four in a while, but against the Saints they seemed to bother Brees on almost every play. They used a great rotation of all the defensive lineman to keep them fresh and help them get up the field.
The offense finally came alive and scored on big plays. The Garcia to Galloway connection was working all day long and it seemed every time Galloway touched the ball it was for a big gain. The offensive line gave Garcia great protection all day long and seemed to dominate the Saints defensive line at the point of attack. If the line can keep giving Garcia this amount of time he will be able to pick apart the defense and find his targets to keep this offense moving. The offense did seem to feast or famine during the game though as they either scored or went three and out. Although Cadillac Williams did score two touchdowns, it was not until late in the game that he was able to get some decent games. The holes did not seem to be there in the beginning of the game, but opened up later. The Bucs will need to open more holes and get the running attack going to continue the success they enjoyed against the Saints.