What the heck happened to Tom Brady and the Bucs last night?

Create: 2020-11-09
Update: 2020-11-09
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Monday, November 9, 2020
Well hey there! It feels good to reunite with you on a Monday morning, my friend, and I hope you had yourself a fine weekend full of sunshine, rainbows and whatever else warms your beautiful little heart. I'm thrilled to be back in the saddle with you after a staycation that basically consisted of me locking myself away in a dark room for a few days last week. It was just what the doctor ordered. A big thank you goes out to Shanna McCarriston, who held down the fort in fine fashion while I was gone. 
We're going to get to our weekend recap here in a second but it's my civic duty to remind you that we've got a big week ahead of us; The Masters is this week and we're gonna see someone win a green jacket under fall foliage at Augusta. Glorious! 
We'll have plenty of Masters coverage in the coming days, but let's get to the pressing stuff first. Let's kick this Monday off right.
📰 What you need to know
1. Brady suffers worst-ever loss on SNF 🏈
So, uh, what the heck happened to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers last night? Most of us were expecting an entertaining, competitive showdown between two of the better teams in the NFC with the Bucs and Saints on Sunday Night Football... and most of us were thoroughly disappointed. The Saints entered Tampa as underdogs but they left with a completely dominant and lopsided 38-3 victory.
In the battle of senior citizen QBs, Drew Brees was nearly flawless while Brady looked like a shell of himself in the worst loss of his career. (His previous career-worst loss came in a 31-0 loss against the Bills in 2003.) Let's jump into some additional takeaways from the game:
  • Brees went 26-of-32 for 222 yards and four touchdown passes
  • Brady threw three interceptions and posted the third-worst QB rating of his career (40.4)
  • Michael Thomas only caught five passes for 51 yards but the Saints spread the ball around extremely effectively. Twelve (12!) Saints players caught at least one pass
  • The Bucs ran the ball just five times all game, including Blaine Gabbert's kneel-down on the final snap of the night
  • Antonio Brown caught three passes for 31 yards in his Tampa Bay debut
We've seen some duds from Brees and the Saints this year but they looked pretty fantastic across the board on Sunday night. Not only does the win vault them to the top of the NFC South, but it also gives them a season sweep over Tampa. In a conference that seemed rather wide open, it's hard not to feel a little better about New Orleans this morning. 
2. Notre Dame awakens greatness with win over Clemson 🏈
We had tons of good football this weekend but the biggest game of them all came Saturday night when Notre Dame managed to knock off Clemson in an instant classic that required overtime. Ultimately, the Irish pulled out the 47-40 victory, marking the first time that Notre Dame has beaten the top-ranked team in the nation since 1993.
Of course, it has to be noted that Clemson was without its best player (and arguably the best player in the country) in starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who is still sitting out after testing positive for coronavirus. But the Tigers got a strong performance in relief from five-star freshman DJ Uaigalelei, who threw for over 400 yards and accounted for three total touchdowns, so you can't take a whole lot away from Notre Dame.
In fact, our college football columnist Dennis Dodd says that this weekend's win was something of an awakening for Notre Dame's program:
  • Dodd: "Whether there are more special moments ahead is being projected. If these teams win out, as expected, there will be a rematch in the ACC Championship Game next month. Saturday's narrow decision already makes it possible that, if Clemson gets revenge, both teams could find their way to the College Football Playoff... For now, that means Notre Dame (7-0) has taken that next step it hasn't in years. It is elite, a notch above the others. Maybe a notch above everyone. On Saturday, it woke up the echoes in a meaningful way against a modern dynasty."
As for Clemson, this is a significant bump in the road as they look to get back to the national championship stage. The good news for Dabo Swinney's team is that their CFP dreams are still very much alive. They'll have Lawrence back next game and their remaining schedule isn't particularly daunting. They have little room for error after this setback, but it's very possible that we see a rematch in December. After what we saw on Saturday, who wouldn't want more of that?
3. NFL Week 9 grades 🏈
Another Monday means another chance for us to review the weekend that was in the NFL while going over grades handed out by our experts. There were plenty of notable results that we should discuss, so let's dive right in.
  • Patrick Mahomes leads Chiefs (B+) to narrow win over Panthers (B+): Kansas City didn't really play well as a team and had a number of issues on Sunday (including rushing for only 30 yards) but Mahomes was incredible, throwing for 372 passing yards and four touchdowns as he helped hold off Carolina
  • Bills (A+) light up scoreboard against Seahawks (D+): Buffalo's offense was explosive and their defense was disruptive -- a winning combination against Seattle. Josh Allen finished with 415 passing yards and four total touchdowns
  • Steelers (B) stay undefeated vs. Cowboys (B): It's not much of a shock that Pittsburgh beat Dallas this weekend, but the 24-19 box score is tighter that many expected. Dallas' fourth-string QB Garrett Gilbert actually gave them a pretty decent chance to win the game, but ultimately the Steelers stayed unbeaten. Their showing on Sunday left a bit to be desired, though
Of course, we've got grades and analysis for every single team that was in action this weekend so you can find the rest of those report cards right here. 
Before we can officially close the book on Week 9 we'll have to get through the Patriots and Jets squaring off on Monday Night Football. We probably deserve better than this matchup and, if the past few weeks have been any indication, we could have a real Tank Bowl on our hands. With that in mind, maybe the lowest grade wins tonight.
4. MLB Hot Stove rumors: Do Mets have shot at Francisco Lindor? ⚾
Not a whole lot has happened as of yet but the MLB offseason is upon us and there are plenty of rumors already stoking the flames of the hot stove. This is going to be a strange and unprecedented offseason thanks to the pandemic and its financial impact on the league but there should still be a good amount of moving and shaking over the next few months. 
Our MLB crew is keeping tabs on all the latest rumors right here, and the juiciest one at the moment involves Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor. Cleveland wants to trade Lindor because they're strapped for cash and they apparently want the Mets involved in the trade sweepstakes, presumably because new Mets owner Steve Cohen will likely be eager to make a big splash in his first offseason at the helm.
  • "Most teams are going to be loath to commit to big jumps in payroll this winter, and even a one-year commitment to a shining star like Lindor could give owners pause. That's not a justifiable stance on the part of those owners, but it's the current reality. New Mets owner Steve Cohen may be the exception that sets the market, and that's why Cleveland wants him in the mix."   
Keep in mind: Given the strange market and the presumed lack of aggressiveness on said market, it could take a while before we see some of these rumored deals come to fruition. Patience, grasshopper.
📝 Odds & Ends
  • Rest in peace to the iconic Alex Trebek, who died yesterday. Here's a collection of the Jeopardy! host's best sports moments
  • New college football top 25? New college football top 25!
  • Chase Elliott won the NASCAR Cup Series title over the weekend
  • The Yankees have moved minor league teams out of Trenton and Staten Island in a decision that left ownership feeling "misled and abandoned"
📺 What to watch tonight
🏈 Patriots vs. Jets, 8:15 p.m. | NYJ +9.5 | TV: ESPN
📝 Top scores from last night
🏈 Dolphins 34, Cardinals 31
Tua Tagovailoa threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns in his first career road start.
💵 Winning wagers: MIA +215, Over (49)
🏈 Raiders 31, Chargers 26
The Chargers suffered a heartbreaking defeat when the would-be game-winning TD on the final play was overturned after a replay review. 
💵 Winning wagers: LV -1, Over (52.5)  
🏈 Titans 24, Bears 17
Tennessee stopped its two-game losing skid while Chicago has now dropped three in a row.
💵 Winning wagers: TEN -6, Under (46.5)    
 
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