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FutureStarrSaints vs buccaneers.
While the teams first met in 1977, the rivalry did not develop until the teams were placed in the NFC South in 2002, resulting in two annual meetings. The Saints lead the overall series, 38–21. The two teams have met in the playoffs once, in the 2020 NFC Divisional Round, which the Buccaneers won, 30–20.
Despite six shutouts in the previous nine weeks, the Tampa Bay defense was improving, and a win seemed imminent. New Orleans did not get a first down until midway through the second quarter, and did not get past midfield until nearly the end of the half. The Buccaneers began their first five drives in Saints territory, scoring on two Dave Green field goals, and a five-yard pass touchdown from Gary Huff to Morris Owens. Mike Washington made it 20–0 early in the second half, returning an interception 45 yards for a touchdown. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)
In 1998, the Buccaneers’ offense dropped seven passes, Patrick Hape lost a fumble at the Saints 3 yard line, and quarterback Trent Dilfer threw an interception, as offensive futility plagued the Tony Dungy-led Buccaneers. The Saints offensive numbers were not impressive either, but three field goals were enough for a 9–3 victory. Three times the Buccaneers had the ball inside the Saints 25 yard line, but came up with zero points. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)
In Week 15 of 2001, Tampa Bay entered the game against the Saints needing a victory to stay in playoff contention. Tampa Bay exploded with a record-setting performance against New Orleans. Aaron Stecker took back the opening kickoff a then-franchise record 86 yards, tackled on the Saints 14 yard line. Two plays later, Brad Johnson connected with Karl Williams for a 14-yard touchdown, and a lead the Buccaneers never surrendered. In the first half, Williams, Mike Alstott and Warrick Dunn each scored touchdowns, while Martin Gramatica added three field goals. to take a 30–0 lead into halftime. The scoring continued into the second half, as the Buccaneers would win 48–21. Tampa Bay would go on to clinch a playoff spot, but eventually lost to Philadelphia in the wild card round.
In 2012, the Saints swept the season series. During the first meeting, Tampa Bay was trailing by the score of 35–28. In the final seconds, Josh Freeman threw a potential game-tying touchdown pass in the back of the end zone, which would have sent the game to overtime with a successful PAT. However, officials ruled that the receiver had stepped out-of-bounds before making the catch. New Orleans held on to win 35–28. Later in the season, the Saints rolled by a score of 41–0, the biggest blowout in the series' history. It was also the first and, as of 2018, only shutout by either team in the series.
Tristan Wirfs. Having helped stymie Khalil Mack and the Bears' pass rush last Sunday – and in the process avenging the only real struggles he had against any defense as a rookie – Wirfs has still not been credited with a sack allowed in 2021, his second season. He is a major reason that Tampa Bay ranks second in fewest sacks allowed per pass play (2.91%), which in turn is helping Tom Brady put up league-leading passing numbers. Last year, Wirfs fared quite well in his two games against Saints star Cameron Jordan, who most often rushes from his side. That will be a critical matchup again this Sunday. As Bruce Arians has noted several times this week, and as was borne out by last year's three Bucs-Saints results, the team that makes the fewest mistakes and commits the fewest turnovers is probably going to emerge victorious. Those kinds of mistakes often begin with pressure on the quarterback, so it will be paramount to keep the pocket clean and safe for Brady. Brady has helped that cause by getting rid of the ball in an average of 2.51 seconds from the snap, but given the tight coverage that New Orleans' secondary usually achieves, there may be times he has to hold it a bit longer. Wirfs will have to help give him that extra bit of time. (Source: www.buccaneers.com)