Saints 20 @ Buccaneers 26: Too Many Turnovers in Tampa

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 16: Wide receiver Mike Williams #19 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers grabs a mid-field pass against Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the New Orleans Saints October 16, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Despite two interceptions and a fumble the Saints still had a chance to pull ahead of the Buccaneers late in the fourth quarter, until quarterback Drew Brees threw his third interception of the day in the end zone, effectively ending the Saints chances of winning.

It was that kind of day for the Saints, who didn't seem to do anything right. Aside from turning the ball over four times, the offense just wasn't clicking like usual. Darren Sproles was more limited than we've seen all season with just 62 total yards from scrimmage. Jimmy Graham (124 yards) and Marques Colston (118 yards) were Drew's two biggest targets while the rushing game was nearly non-existent. 

The defense didn't look so great either. They got no pressure, blew coverages and tackled poorly. But they at least gave the offense a chance to win when it mattered. Malcolm Jenkins made a few well-timed hits on receivers to force incompletions. Jabari Greer also made a few nice plays in coverage. 

Sean Payton has a torn MCL and a broken tibia after being on the receiving end of a collision with Jimmy Graham on the sideline. He called the rest of the first half while sitting on the bench before going to the locker room at halftime. assistant/linebackers coach Joe Vitt was acting head coach and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, Jr. took over play calling duties. Payton will have surgery on Monday. 

The Saints are now tied with the Buccaneers for first place in the division and have a one game lead over the Falcons

Make the jump for final stats from the game. Click the picture at left for more from the afternoon. 

Team Stats

NO TB
First Downs 20 21
Total Yards 453 420
Passing Yards 383 303
Rushing Yards 70 117
Penalties (Yds) 7(53) 7(64)
Turnovers 4 0
Punts (AVG) 4(49) 4(50)
Time of Pos. 28:33 30:56

 

Top Performers

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
D. Brees 29/45 383 1 3
Rushing CAR YDS TD LG
D. Sproles 1 16 0 16
M. Ingram 9 22 1 12T
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
M. Colston 7 118 1 38T
J. Graham 7 124 0 43
M. Ingram 1 6 0 6

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
J. Freeman 23/41 303 2 0
Rushing CAR YDS TD LG
E. Graham 17 109 0 34
K. Lumpkin 2 13 0 9
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
M. Williams 6 59 0 19
A. Benn 3 83 1 65T
K. Winslow 5 40 0 15
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