ReFo: Saints @ Buccaneers, Week 17
This game more or less summed up the season for each of these teams. The Saints looked sluggish for much of the game before reeling off 16 fourth-quarter points to come away with the win. On the other side, the Bucs fell apart in the second half, as they’ve done often this season, after going into the half with a 20-7 lead. Tampa Bay likely won’t be too down about the loss, however, having secured the top pick in the draft.
As both teams turn the focus to next season, let’s take a look at the notable performances in the final game of this one.
New Orleans Saints – Performances of Note
Jimmy Graham, TE: -0.5
Breakdown: Another fairly forgettable game for Graham in what turned out to be a largely forgettable season. He brought in six receptions for 54 yards, but dropped a pass and was uncharacteristically outmuscled by a defender on another.
Signature Play: At 2:47 in the fourth, Graham got open deep but let a perfectly thrown pass go through his hands as he braced for the hit.
Ben Watson, TE: +3.6
Breakdown: On the other side from Graham was Watson who ended a disappointing season with his best performance of the year. He earned high marks in large part for his work in the run game, sealing defenders inside on multiple plays. And while he only caught two passes for 18 yards, both went for first downs.
Signature Play: Watson ran through a pair of tackles at 10:37 in the third quarter to pick up the first down.
Brandon Deadrick, DL: -2.6
Breakdown: The 57 snaps was the highest workload of Deadrick’s career, though it was not his best effort. He won a few of his battles, picking up a QB hit and hurry and forcing a cut among them, but was more often than not controlled by Tampa blockers in the running game.
Signature Play: One of the positives came at 9:10 of the third quarter as he stood up his blocker at the point of attack.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Performances of Note
Da’Quan Bowers, DL: +1.9
Breakdown: Another player who finished the season on a high note, Bowers got his hands on two Drew Brees passes at the LOS, in addition to a pair of stops.
Signature Play: Bowers bulled Jahri Evans, driving him back and to the ground to pick up the QB hurry at 9:14 of the fourth.
Bradley McDougald, S: +0.4
Breakdown: McDougald was very active in this one, though not always in a positive way. The safety was strong in pass defense, defensing two throws and intercepting another, but missed three tackles in run support.
Signature Stat: On the year, McDougald missed a tackle every 4.6 attempts.
Josh McCown, QB: +3.7
Breakdown: If only McCown had performed this way the entire season, the Bucs wouldn’t be holding the No. 1 pick in the draft and wouldn’t be likely looking for a new quarterback. His numbers don’t show it and he did little spectacular, but was solid all the way around, with few poor throws.
Signature Play: He made strong throws like the one at 00:49 of the second quarter all game.
PFF Game Ball
Let’s credit the blocking tight end and give this one to Ben Watson.
Follow John on Twitter: @John_Maney