Mike Evans made it clear how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers feel about the New Orleans Saints back in June.

“We don’t like the Saints,” he told reporters at the time.

It’s obvious the Buccaneers don’t like their NFC South rival and it’s in large part because, at the time, they had lost seven straight regular season games.

But that winning streak is over after the Buccaneers won, 20-10, on Sunday.

As expected, this game was an intense, low-scoring dogfight four all four quarters. It was almost as low-scoring as a game can get, tied 3-3, at the start of fourth quarter due to very strong and very aggressive performances from both defenses. Neither offense could find the rhythm and consistency, as sacks and turnovers were featured aplenty.

“They were playing pretty good defense on us, as well,” Todd Bowles told reporters after the game. “Yards were hard to come by and points were hard to come by in that ball game….

“They’re a good defense. We knew they had a good defensive team. Every time they play us, it’s a tough ball game and it’s a grind-out ball game.”

For the Buccaneers, the frustration was at its highest point, ever. This was evident. All one had to do was watch Tom Brady, who broke another Microsoft Surface on the sideline and was seen yelling at his teammates on several occasions.

Brady and co. finally released all that frustration on the field during a fourth quarter brawl that resulted in the ejections of Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans and Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore with just under 13 minutes left in the game.

As it turned out, that’s all the Buccaneers needed – was to vent a bit. Because after the fight, the Buccaneers scored 17-points, forced four turnovers, and racked up 3.0 sacks en route to their first regular season win over the Saints since 2018.

And it all happened immediately after the fight. Jamel Dean intercepted an overthrown pass two plays later and Brady subsequently led the offense on an 80-yard drive that led to the go-ahed 28-yard touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman.

In all seriousness, there’s no way to directly correlate the fight to the Buccaneers’ performance over the last dozen or so minutes of the game. But, it is clear something changed afterward.

Maybe it was going to happen, eventually. Maybe it did play a big role.

There is plenty of room to speculate, but the one thing we know for sure is the Buccaneers withstood every punch the Saints handed out, but delivered the ultimate haymaker in the end.

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Featured image via Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports