TAMPA — During their knuckle-whitening comeback Monday night, the Bucs finally wiped away one of the most embarrassing blemishes in their recent history.
Tom Brady’s 1-yard scoring pass to Cade Otton with three minutes to play snapped a streak of 12 consecutive quarters without a home touchdown against the Saints. Brady’s 6-yard TD to Rachaad White with three seconds remaining clinched a 17-16 triumph.
“It’s the truth,” Brady said when asked about the drought following the triumph.
“I was going to say it’s an insult, but it’s really not an insult, it’s the absolute truth. I wish we could score more points against them, they make it really hard. They’ve got a really good scheme, they’ve got good players, they cover you well, rush well.”
Before the connection to Otton, one had to backpedal to Nov. 17, 2019 — when Jameis Winston found Chris Godwin for a 30-yard touchdown in the third quarter — to find a TD at home against New Orleans. The Bucs lost that one, 34-17.
They fell 9-0 to the Saints at Raymond James Stadium in a Sunday night encounter last December and were embarrassed 38-3 at home on Nov. 8, 2020 — also a Sunday night game.
Judge honors another deep threat
American League single-season home run king Aaron Judge, baseball’s biggest free agent by stature and statistical prowess, momentarily spiked the delusions of Rays fans desperate for a big bat with his pregame appearance on the sideline Monday.
Judge, whose 62 home runs this past season eclipsed Roger Maris’ 61-year-old AL record, was spotted on the sideline in a red Mike Evans No. 13 jersey before the game.
Roughly two months earlier, Evans sported a No. 99 road Yankees jersey in the locker room following a Week 5 win against the Falcons. At the time, ESPN reported the two met once during baseball’s spring training.
“He had my jersey on?” Evans said afterward. “He’s a legend. ... That’s my guy. Unbelievable player. Cool dude, too.”
Judge watched Evans (four catches, 59 yards) move into 50th place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yardage list. He’s at 10,062 yards.
Stay updated on the Buccaneers
Subscribe to our free Bucs RedZone newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
Not a popular punt
A night that elicited periodic boos drew its heartiest chorus of them midway through the fourth quarter, when coach Todd Bowles opted to punt on fourth and 10 from his own 25.
Bowles initially had the offense on the field, but pulled it off. At that point, the Bucs trailed by 13 with 7:06 remaining.
“We had a lot of time on the clock right there,” Bowles said. “And we figured we’d get them backed up, make them punt and still get the same field position.”
They did. The defense forced a three-and-out, and the Bucs took over at their own 9 with 5:21 remaining after a 35-yard Blake Gillikin punt. Ten plays later, they scored to cut the deficit to six.
By the numbers
2 Targets (apiece) for four-time Pro Bowler Mike Evans and rookie tight end Ko Kieft after three quarters Monday
9 Career touchdown catches for Saints utility specialist Taysom Hill, who had a 30-yard scoring catch in the second quarter. He’s now one of six NFL players with nine passing, receiving and rushing TDs in their careers (according to ESPN).
25-1/2 Career sacks for Carl Nassib, who sacked Andy Dalton for a 10-yard loss with 2:47 to play
28 Career sacks by Bucs linebacker Lavonte David, 10th-most in team history. David sacked Dalton for an 8-yard loss on the Saints’ third play Monday night.
160 Career games played by David, passing Tony Mayberry for sixth-most in team history
• • •
Sign up for the Bucs RedZone newsletter to get updates and analysis on the latest team and NFL news from Bucs beat writer Joey Knight.