Saints 35, Buccaneers 28: 500+ yards of offense, no turnovers and still an L
It's difficult to rack up over 500 yards of offense, not turn the ball over and still lose. In fact, the Buccaneers became only the third team in the history of the NFL to do so, as the other 68 teams that amassed 500 yards of offense without turning the ball over came away victorious.
How did they do it? By losing virtually every aspect of the game other than the total yardage category. The Buccaneers cost themselves with stupid penalties, including a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct on a fourth down field goal attempt by the Saints that afforded them a first down, as well as failures to score on golden opportunities such as a 95-yard pass play from Josh Freeman to Vincent Jackson that the Bucs couldn't convert into points.
Had the Buccaneers took care of these opportunities perhaps they wouldn't have needed the extremely close play at the end that could've been called either way by the referees, but instead went in favor of the Saints as Mike Williams was called for illegal touching.
But truly the biggest fix the Buccaneers could've made was to have a defense that was capable of slowing the Drew Brees offense for the Saints. Brees tallied 377 yards passing through the air with four touchdowns as he had very little trouble picking apart a Tampa Bay defense that didn't pressure the Saints quarterback or cover his receivers very well.
While there are young pieces on the Buccaneers defense, including safety Mark Barron, the rest of the unit is lacking in talent and will require upgrades in the offseason.
The Jaguars have lost by coming back dramatically and then blowing it, getting blown out and now by allowing a team to come back from a two score deficit in the second half. How did it happen? Well, the fans got to see just how valuable having Blaine Gabbert in the game was.
After leaving the game with a shoulder injury that turned out to be torn labrum, according to reports on Tuesday, Gabbert sat out the final minutes of the second quarter and the entire second half. Without the second year quarterback, the Jaguars were instead forced to turn to Chad Henne.
That was the end of any offensive production for the Jaguars that scored 17 in the first half, but managed just two field goals in the second half, both after they were afforded field position in Oakland territory. Also lost during the game was Maurice Jones-Drew who left with a foot injury that may be a Lisfranc injury for the reigning NFL leading rusher.
If there's any good news for the Jaguars, it may be that the defense that was the NFL's No. 6 unit in 2011 looked somewhat like its former self, despite still missing Dwight Lowery and Daryl Smith. While they did allow 351 yards of total offense, it was a season-low for the 1-5 team and much of that yardage can be blamed on the fact that the defense was on the field far too much in the second half trying to defend a trailing Raiders team.
For the first time all season, the Jaguars saw some semblance of a consistent pass rush led by Austen Lane, with Jeremy Mincey recording his first of the season and a hit on Carson Palmer that caused an errant pass that originally ruled on the field as a sack/forced fumble.
Perhaps a healthy Jaguars team in 2013 could have many of the defensive pieces in place and not require the dramatic rebuild that is usually associated with a team that is en route to a top five pick in the NFL Draft.