It’s not as if the New Orleans Saints hadn’t shown a willingness to throw deep in the first half of their 31-24 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater connected on completions of 34 yards (to receiver Michael Thomas) and 26 yards (to tight end Josh Hill) as the Saints (4-1) built a 17-10 advantage by halftime. The push-it-down-the-field crowd at least had to have been partially sated.
But when the Saints took possession to open the third quarter, there might not totally have been a sense that New Orleans would go for the jugular.
On the first play of the half, from the Saints’ 25-yard line, Bridgewater aired one out down the left sideline, where Thomas had gotten behind Tampa Bay cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. By the time the pass settled into Thomas’ clutches and Hargreaves wrestled him to the turf, Bridgewater and Thomas had hooked up for a 42-yard completion, the longest of the season for New Orleans and Bridgewater’s longest since he had a 52-yard completion as Minnesota’s starter in 2015.
The aggression and execution put the Saints in prime position; after an Alvin Kamara run for no gain on first down from the 33, Bridgewater took a shotgun snap, stepped up in the pocket and out of traffic, and fired a touchdown pass down the middle to wide-open Ted Ginn Jr. to give the Saints a 24-10 lead.
But, also, the aggression and execution exhibited New Orleans’ mindset against a defense that challenged the Saints to attack through the air, and paid the price for it.
Check out the game action between the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 5 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.