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2020 Long Island EFL Week#1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints

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In the Long Island Electric Football League, there is always that one team that annoys people, because they crush the playoff hopes for other coaches who might be too confident in their team, just as you might in your leagues around the world. The  LIEFL #10 New Orleans Saints (76-72),  are one of those teams that perform best under pressure, but they are also classic-spoilers. We call the Saints the "Terminators" because each season they seem to destroy the playoff hopes of a contending team that all of us favor to be in the Long Island Electric Football League playoffs.  All of us but one coach, Kevin Maloney, the 6 foot 4' Terminator!  This rivalry isn't just a team rivalry, but it is a fierce and friendly coaching rivalry!

 Maloney spoiled coach O'Connell's 1991-92 LIEFL Super Bowl VIII hopes by beating the Miami Dolphins 26-21 in a (DOT) electrifying thriller!

The stakes are always high in the South Division. The rising stars in New Orleans are back in business in their opener which is more than a rival it's a grudge match between New Orleans and Tampa Bay. In 2019, Maloney's New Orleans were competitive in every game.  They went (2-5), but they are one of the best 2-5 teams we've ever seen and after procuring a number of new Draft-player basis, they are on the rise in the South! 

At the end of each season, we buy 150-250 new player bases for our Draft and the teams with the worst records get the best pick of the lot in rebuilding their team. We negotiate sometimes as to who want to pass on the Draft because they are satisfied with their current team, holding that #1 Draft for the following season. That's how 2017 Super Bowl Champion, Buffalo rebuilt. This game was a knock-down drag-out brawl in this competitive South division, where everyone is fighting to be the top dog against Carolina and Atlanta.

New Orleans Saints running back, play-maker Reggie Bush, finished strong in 2019 with 1491 all-purpose yards with 7 touchdowns! New Orleans lost to two-time LIEFL Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams 10-7, and in the last two games of the season they eliminated the tough Tennessee Titans from the playoffs in Week#6, beating the Titans 14-10 in a stunner. Then in Week #7, the Saints beat the high-profile Atlanta Falcons and Gerald Riggs in OT, 27-21, eliminating the "Dirty Birds" in one of the Falcons greatest season's on record. We can't look forward in this league, we have to play in the moment and that is coach Maloney's specialty, so coming into this season opener the rivalry continues between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The LIEFL #19 Ranked Bucs (66-86), didn't compete against the Saints last season, but the season before, New Orleans crushed the Bucs playoff hopes in the season finale.Buccaneer All-Pro running back Rickey Bell was a respectable #3 in the NFC and #4 in the LIEFL in rushing as he rushed for a big 654 yards last season with 12 touchdowns and three 50 yards or more touchdown runs!  

 On the opening kickoff Reggie Bush took it back 44 yards until Tampa Bay defensive tackle Paul Gruber made a huge hit on Bush.

The Saints stuck first! On the anxious New Orleans Saints first run from scrimmage Reggie Bush took it 51 yards to the Buccaneer 5-yard line making a statement. Coach Maloney had a smirk on his face, he wasted no time showing what his Saints offense can do against one of the best teams in the South. But, coach Joe Pizz'  Buccaneer defense came out strong, stopping Reggie Bush on his first two attempts after the big 51 yard run, forcing the Saints to air it out on third down. One play later tight end Jeremy Shockey grabbed a beautiful pass from quarterback Drew Bees, taking it down the left sideline for a 21-yard touchdown, making the score 7-0 Saints with 8:17 to go in the half.
On the kickoff, Special teams player All-Pro Jimmy Giles for Tampa Bay (22-1195-2 100 yard kick returns in 2019), ran the ball back to the 50 on the kickoff return and two plays later, Bell ran a 48 yard run to the 2-yard line of the Saints, coming within striking distance on 1st and goal to goal. One play later, Bell bullied his way into the end-zone for the 1-yard touchdown to the Saints weak strong side through the New Orleans touch defensive tackle, All-Pro William Rolf.
On the first play of the second half Bucs lineman Warren Sapp hit Reggie Bush hard for a 3-yard loss on first down. That Hardy defensive line for the Tampa Bay Bucs game up solid on three straight plays forcing a fourth down and a very difficult decision to make from 55 yards out for New Orleans. The Saints kick a field goal and take the lead, 10-7 with 11:25 left to go in the game.
For the second time in the game ,Giles had a wide-open hole only be to be turned around by his own man, this time he had a 55-yard return with nobody around spoiling the Buccaneers chance to take the lead.
The Bucs looked rusty with the lack of practice COVID-19 has prevented them from daily workouts in Florida. On third down Tampa Bay's Winston Jameis threw a 33-yard spiral 2 fullback Mike Alstot for the completion, taking it to at Saints 12-yard line. Two plays later, Bell scored in second touchdown of the game, putting the Buccaneers ahead 14-10 with 2:03 to go in the game. Time was running out on both teams and in a sensational turn of events for Maloney's New Orleans Saints with 11 seconds left in the game, Reggie Bush  broke free from the Tampa Bay defense as the Bucs watch the unreal as Drew Brees hit Bush for a 55-yard touchdown to come back and win the game 17-14 in a dramatic thriller!


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Edited by Long island EFL
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