Thomas was targeted four times and did not record a reception in Sunday's season-ending 30-20 loss to the Buccaneers.
In a shocking turn of events, last season's receptions leader was held without a catch for a full game as a starter for the first time in his career. Drew Brees and the Saints' coaching staff clearly wanted to focus on shorter dropbacks and quicker throws to combat Tampa Bay's aggressive blitzing defense, but that still doesn't excuse the lack of involvement Thomas received, as he is an elite route runner at all three levels. Perhaps the 27-year-old was still being hampered by the high-ankle sprain that cost him four games at the end of the regular season; whatever the case, it was a disappointing end to a rough 2020 campaign for the All-Pro wideout. Thomas was limited to seven contests during the regular season due to injuries and off-field conduct, finishing with career lows in receptions (40), yards (438) and touchdowns (zero). Unlike his fellow playmaking star, Alvin Kamara, Thomas could benefit from Drew Brees' potential retirement this offseason, as the legendary quarterback saw his arm strength and deep accuracy fall off a cliff this year. If the Saints are forced to look for a new starting quarterback in 2021, we could see a different version of Thomas who sacrifices reception volume for a big boost in yards per reception.