Battling through adversity early
Despite dropped balls and penalties on the offense and an early 13-0 deficit, the Bucs showed patience and resolve in the 1st half and it paid off. After K Patrick Murray's 55 yard bomb field goal got them on the board, the D came up huge with an interception by Johnthan Banks that swung the momentum back into Tampa Bay's favor. Mike Glennon found Louis Murphy in the corner of the end zone soon after and the margin was only 13-10 at the half. This is two weeks in a row, on the road, that the team continued to battle when things weren't going well, corrected their mistakes, and eventually got things to go their way. Great sign for the future.Takeaways started coming
Since the beginning of the season, Head Coach Lovie Smith has preached about "taking the ball away." On Sunday, we saw exactly what he means. As mentioned above, the Banks INT in the 2nd quarter was the first of three turnovers caused by the Bucs D. The second was the critical third quarter interception that resulted in a touchdown for the defense. The line pressured Drew Brees to step up and throw errantly again, and LB Danny Lansanah was right there to grab it out of the air. Also as important, defenders became blockers and escorted him into the end zone for the score that made the game 24-13. Finally, Alterraun Verner ended regulation with a third interception, and there were actually several other possible picks throughout the game, where a Bucs defender got his hand on the ball. This is exactly what the Buccaneer defense is trained to do - take it away… a bunch.
Lavonte David was EVERYWHERE
One guy who you cannot say enough about from Sunday was LB Lavonte David. In addition to being a leader on defense, he made play after play, whether against a short pass or against the run. There were two occasions where I stood on the sideline for Buccaneers radio and he was a BLUR coming out of nowhere to hammer (legally) the Saints player with the ball. That's the kind of "take the game over" type play that #54 has shown before, and a stat sheet with 14 tackles (10 solo and 2 TFL) backs it up.