Rendering the Saints smack-less
A rivalry notorious for its chirping had grown eerily silent - at least on one side - by late Sunday evening. Conspicuous by his silence was two-time All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas, who had no catches on four targets after allegedly taunting Bucs second-year cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting during pregame warmups.

"I don't say much, but when you do something like that, it's like you're trying me as a man," Murphy-Bunting said. "Now with all that taunting stuff that he does, all that muscles up and all that, he didn't do it one time in this game."

Similarly, Saints six-time Pro Bowler Cam Jordan, who publicly bashed Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith when Smith signed a $41 million extension in 2019, finished with four tackles and only one quarterback hurry. "I don't got no rap for a lot of these guys," Smith said. "Inside those lines, we go out there, we play, I'm not for all that talking. They just sit there and they can do that."

Odds and ends
Inside linebacker Devin White's 11 tackles tied the Bucs' single-game postseason record shared by four other players. ... With four postseason touchdown passes, Tom Brady is one shy of Brad Johnson's franchise record. He also now has seven postseason rushing TDs, one shy of Steve Young's record for quarterbacks. ... Fournette has gained at least 75 yards from scrimmage in each of his five career playoff games. ... With three more field goals Sunday, Ryan Succop now is 11-for-11 for his career in the postseason.

Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times, published 18 January 2021