It's the morning after, and we're still alive and kicking, even though it doesn't feel good to wake up with the taste of that bitter loss to Tampa Bay in our mouths.
Make the jump to read more stories and post-game quotes than you'll ever need to figure out just where and how it went so wrong yesterday...anyone else nervous about facing a "dangerous" winless Colts team next Sunday night?
Ouch! Bucs take out Payton, Saints | wwltv.com
(Associated Press) The Bucs took out head coach Sean Payton on the Saints first series and then took out the rest of the turnover-plagued team in posting a 26-20 win Sunday.
Bucs take advantage of mistake-prone Saints for 26-20 win | sportsnola.com
Sports Network report.
Payton to undergo surgery Sunday night or Monday for injuries | wwltv.com
Bradley Handwerger - Saints coach Sean Payton injured his left knee early in the first quarter when tight end Jimmy Graham was tackled into him, wiping out the head coach.
New Orleans Saints loss puts them a game back in the NFC South | NOLA.com
Kevin Spain - The Bucs have beaten the Saints and the Atlanta Falcons.
NFL Game Center: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers | nfl.com
Includes stats, play-by-play, drive charts, and highlights.
New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | ESPN.com
NFL Football Recap: Includes final statistics, play-by-play, drive charts, and photos.
Rapid Reaction: Buccaneers 26, Saints 20 - NFC South Blog | ESPN
Pat Y. - Thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 26-20 victory against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium.
Photo Gallery: Saints @ Bucs | NOLA.com
From the Saints Sideline
New Orleans Saints turn over 26-20 victory to Buccaneers | NOLA.com
Mike Triplett - They drop to 4-2 after rally comes up short.
Saints giveaways, lack of takeaways kill chances of win in Tampa | wwltv.com
Bradley Handwerger - When the Saints had a chance Sunday to seemingly steal a win at Tampa Bay, the man who has led so many fourth-quarter comebacks in a New Orleans uniform finally faltered.
Recapping the New Orleans Saints' 26-20 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers | NOLA.com
James Varney - Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham unimpressed by records.
Saints squander opportunity in loss to Tampa Bay | wwltv.com
Bradley Handwerger - Jonathan Vilma doesn’t subscribe to the theory that six games in is still early in the NFL season. Not when he remembers the home loss to the Falcons in Week 3 of the 2010 season.
New Orleans Saints loss to Tampa Bay will hurt for a while | NOLA.com
Jeff Duncan - Setback could impact playoff seeding.
Sean Payton said play got to him quicker than he expected | NOLA.com
James Varney - New Orleans Saints coach plans to undergo surgery Monday, return to work Tuesday
Stats that stand out from the New Orleans Saints' 26-20 loss to Tampa Bay Buccaneers | NOLA.com
Staff report - You can't win when you turn the ball over four times.
Game balls from the New Orleans Saints' game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers | NOLA.com
Staff report - Marques Colston, Patrick Robinson, Thomas Morstead get the hardware.
From the Crow's Nest
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat New Orleans Saints 26-20, move into tie atop NFC South | St. Petersburg Times
Staff report - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers bounced back from their worst loss in franchise history to register one of their best, holding off New Orleans 26-20 Sunday to move into a first-place tie with the Saints atop the NFC South Division.
Bucs Take It Away from Saints | buccaneers.com
Safety Tanard Jackson marks return to NFL with interception for Tampa Bay Buccaneers | NOLA.com
Eddie Daniels - News and notes from the Buccaneers' sideline.
Bucs benefit from yet another Earnest effort | TBO.com
Joe Henderson - Earnest Graham has ageless legs, a super-sized heart, and a willingness to work. Combine all that with the best attitude you'll ever see on an athletic field, and, well, what else would you want?
"It's one of those things, the play kind of got up on me quicker," Payton said of being rolled up by tight end Jimmy Graham. "I think the second part of the tackle seemed maybe all of a sudden. I mean every once in a while you feel like you get pinned with the play, and that's what happened. At first I just thought I went down and hurt my knee then when I tried to get up I clearly felt something was up with it. The main thing was just the X-rays at halftime. ... I knew it was the MCL, the inside ligament. What happens though is when the knee tears the MCL these two bones on the outside press and the fracture occurred on the lower bone."
Payton said it was hard to give up his play-calling duties but the pain forced him to.
"Yeah. Yeah. I think my initial plan was to go up in the box," he said. "The problem was just dealing with some of the pain issues. And I thought Pete (Carmichael) did a real good job. And I thought the staff did a good job. And so we have surgery tomorrow morning."
On how the game played out: "I think this after the game, I thought we played with energy and effort, and yet the turnovers become almost insurmountable. But that being said, there's a chance still at the end to pull it out, and we weren't able to. So credit Tampa Bay, and we get back to work this week."
On Tampa Bay Coach Raheem Morris visiting with him: "He came by afterward, he was great. I thought we played with great effort. We just got to clean some things up and understand the turnovers were pretty significant. I thought the second half Joe Vitt did a good job of handling the overall game and I thought Pete was outstanding. We got some momentum going. I didn't see the end of the half. I was getting X-rays at that time.
On the timetable for his recovery: "I have surgery in the morning ... so hopefully Tuesday I'm back in the office."
On the injury: "I've never been hurt as a player. I was just Thursday during stretch kidding the defensive guys. I never, not once, ever had an injury all the years I played. And this is one where it just got up on me and I didn't get out of the way quick enough."
On the challenge at the 2-minute mark: "It was hard to see. We had the house feed, so what we saw it didn't look like anything that would overturn it."
On whether he'll be on the field for Wednesday's practice: "We'll see. I'm hopeful that's the case. And I might have to be up in the press box for a few games. Because it's a fracture it's different. If it's the MCL you can have the brace, but the fracture on the outside means the weight bearing part of it really changes. But the plan is to be back at Saints camp on Tuesday and keep things going as we normally would."
On whether another coach has gone through this: "I don't know. The bad part of it is you all of a sudden get 87 texts that you have to answer. ... but listen, we've all I think on the sidelines had near misses or even times that you get knocked down. But this is one where my foot got caught, and I felt just as it happened some pain. But you get up thinking you're going to be all right. But I get up and because of the fracture there's no stability. And currently that's what I'm dealing with right now."
On whether he was trying to figure out the next play call after it happened: "Yeah, yeah (laughing) because initially I didn't think it was serious. Then I sat ... I knew when I was sitting on the bench for the rest of the half that the MCL was torn. Just didn't know if there was a fracture."
(Saints player and Tampa Bay quotes from neworleanssaints.com)
QB DREW BREES
(On Head Coach Sean Payton's injury)
"Obviously Sean [Payton] took a hit on the sideline there, on what I believe was the second or third play of the game. So, he was down and tried to call plays from the sideline, but it seemed like he needed to get his leg attended to, too, and I'll let other people tell you about that. For us, Pete Carmichael, our offensive coordinator, called plays. If you noticed, we did some no-huddle stuff as well. We tried to mix it up and do the best job we could. I felt like Pete did a great job of getting play calls in and all the stuff that we would have called in those situations. He deserves a lot of credit, as does the rest of our coaching staff, just to try and pick up the slack for what Sean would have done, obviously, as head coach and play caller."
(On Tampa Bay's defense)
"I thought they played great today. They took the ball away four times, which, if you can do that, you're going to win a lot of games. We gave it away four times, and we got it none. Granted, the last play of the game, it's fourth down, you got to throw it up anyway. The fact of the matter is, that'll get you beat. We've got to do a better job with that. I'm confident that we will. Other than that though, I felt like we moved the ball. We just kicked a couple of field goals when maybe we could have kept some drives alive. The turnovers hurt us obviously, too. It's hard looking back on it now because you're still kind of focused on what happened at the end of the game there, but they played well. They played us tight. It was back and forth there, and like I said, I think the turnovers gave them some good field position on a few occasions, which obviously can't happen. That just puts our defense in a tough spot, and we can't allow that."
(On setting an NFL record tonight)
"I don't even know what it is and don't really care, because it was all about coming here and getting a victory. I mean, everything that happened, you lose your head coach on the third call of the game, the play caller. Everybody stepped up and did a great job to make up for that, and we battled. We didn't play our best football, but we battled. We had a chance in the end, and we just didn't get it done. That's disappointing. Am I confident that we'll come back next week better than ever? Yes, I am. I know the type of guys that are in this locker game. We're going to stick together. We're going to fight through this adversity. The train keeps rolling. This is a long season. It's a marathon. We're sitting here 4-2, dropped a divisional game on the road. It hurts, but there's a lot of football left to be played. There's no doubt we've got to get better. We will."
DE WILL SMITH
(On if Head Coach Sean Payton's injury affected the game)
"No it didn't. You said that he got hurt, but it didn't look like it had any factor for our defense at all."
(On the Tampa Bay's big plays in the first half)
"Just mistakes on our behalf. You know, [the Buccaneers] came in the game, we came in the game, and we were going to press them and do a bunch of different things and they came in again and they were prepared for it. They made some plays here and there, and we made a couple of mistakes here and there which they ultimately extended the drive and got points in the first half."
(On the energy level)
"The energy was high. The guys were out there fighting [and] playing until the whistle's end. Everyone felt determined to play. We got to tip our hats to Tampa. They came out and played well. They had a good game plan. We knew it was going to be tough coming in here on the road and facing them. But we felt we would be able to win the game."
(On Tampa Bay WR Dezmon Briscoe's first-down reception in the fourth quarter)
"We tried to look at it on the jumbotron, but, I mean, we couldn't really see anything. It's a judgment call by the refs and if they can't see it, then they said they didn't see anything [to overturn the call]."
(On losing Head Coach Sean Payton)
"It was tough to lose Coach Payton during the game like that because he brings a certain energy out there, but, you know, guys were fired up. Guys knew the importance of this game to come out here and win a divisional game on the road. We knew it was important and we knew he would want us to go out there and play out. [...] we do whatever it [takes] to get a victory. Unfortunately, we were unable to play that way but we still had a chance to win at the end and we fell just short."
TE JIMMY GRAHAM
(On the 100 yard receiving game)
"For me it's bittersweet. I wish I was going home with the win, [but] there were a lot of things I did wrong today. There were a lot of errors and I just have to get better. It was just an okay day for me."
(On the collision with Head Coach Sean Payton)
"It was third down and I was just trying to get the first [down], and [as the play ended] I just had a couple of guys one me and then someone else came. Next thing I know I'm rolling up and I am looking up at Sean [and] he's on the ground."
(On the team's moral (sic) )
"This team, our motto is the next man up."
LB JONATHAN VILMA
(On the game)
"We always play each other tough [so] that is to be expected."
(On Tampa Bay's play)
"They were the better team today. We still have to correct some things on our end to get better, especially when we play them the second time."
WR LANCE MOORE
(On the mistakes)
"Anytime you have four turnovers it's almost impossible to win. We can't just ignore what happened today; we have to take a look at the film [and] see what things we did wrong. To have those turnovers, we can't ignore the fact this happened."
(On Head Coach Sean Payton's injury)
"You can't let something like that affect the way you play. Whoever is calling the plays, it really doesn't matter [because] we still have to go out there and perform. We just came up short today."
WR MARQUS (sic) COLSTON
(On the strategy of the coaching staff with Sean Payton not on the sidelines)
"The guys that were put in that position came and did the best they could. [They] put us in a position to score a touchdown late in the game and to go up."
(On the final interception in the end zone)
"This offense is definitely confident. When the game is on the line, we are going to make plays and it didn't happen for us today. [We] got to try and make corrections and get on to next week."
(On the missed opportunity to go up in the division)
"We definitely [missed that opportunity], but, at the end of the day, that's one game, so we will put it behind us, make the corrections. We got a tough one [game] next week."
(On QB Drew Brees' statement referring to the schedule as a marathon)
"Yeah, I mean, there is no playoff seed that is being decided today. So it would have been great for us to get [the win], but we didn't and I'm just going to keep moving to the next one."
RB MARK INGRAM
(On Head Coach Sean Payton's injury)
"We just tried to handle our [play] the right way. We have a lot of other great coaches on the staff, so they know the game plan and know our playbook. We're a family here, so we trusted that they put us in the right position."
(On poor run performance)
"We just have to do better, it's simple. Go back to the drawing board tomorrow and get better."
(On whether the game plan changed following Payton's departure)
"Nobody ever thinks their head coach is going to get knocked out of a football game, that's the last person that's going to get knocked out of a football game. So it was definitely different, something we had to adjust to, but I think we handled it pretty well."
HEAD COACH RAHEEM MORRIS
"Good evening. [It's a] heavyweight battle whenever you play the Saints. They're a big-time opponent. Those guys come out and they are ready to play-we talked about it early in the week, said Drew Brees was going to end the game with 300 yards and he did. You can never give up, you never stop playing with these guys and our guys did a nice job of fighting and staying in the fight, maintaining the lead and getting the win."
(On the turnover differential being the winning statistic)
"It has been for the last couple years. I couldn't beat those guys in yardage, it almost seems impossible. [The Saints] go out and they get production, they get yardage, they keep fighting. They do a really nice job with that, so, for us to go out and take advantage of our opportunities and let technique and opportunity meet is what we have to do."
(On if he feels redeemed following last week's game)
"No, no, it's not a redemption thing. I had a lot of confidence in this team of bouncing back, and I know you guys wrote us off for dead last week. But I got a lot of confidence in these guys bouncing back. I know this is a tough team. They are young, we didn't show up last week and this week they are ready to go. We had a nice preparation week, challenged them, put them in pads, went out there and hit a little bit and got ready to go with our next man up mentality and theory and went out there and played."
(On the team's reaction following last week's game)
"You know, I got a bunch of tough guys on this football team and no matter what happens, anybody may be considered a star. It's always going to be next man theory. Whether it's Adam Hayward going in at mike [linebacker] for us, or whether it's Quincy Black having to fulfill the nickel role again for us, or whether it's T-Jack [CB Tanard Jackson] coming back, these guys know how to move on to the next game."
(On if he expected CB Tanard Jackson to play well after a year away)
"Yes. I absolutely did. That's why we put him out there. You know Tanard is different, he's been different since he's been here, we've known that. He started from day one, he's started every game he's put a Buccaneer helmet on and, hopefully, he'll continue to do that."
(On RB Ernest Graham)
"Insurance Graham. I mean we can't say enough about him. If we ask him to play fullback, he plays full back, if we ask him to play tailback, he plays tail back. Put him at tight end, he plays tight end, put him on special teams, he plays special teams. He just does anything you ask him to do. He was almost a linebacker the week before. He just does it, he gets it, he loves football."
(On the swing from 45-point loss to division lead)
"For us, it was on our mindset right away, we knew we were at 3-2 and we knew what they were, and we knew we had the ability to take over the lead, being 2-0 in the division. Going out and winning our division, that's what we said we wanted to do right from the beginning, that's been our mentality. You guys know about my theory of mentality before reality and that's what we did today."
(On the defense)
"We're streaky I guess, we're like John Starks, we come out hot some days and some days we're not. But tonight we are on fire and back in, we got the hop-step we've been missing the last couple of weeks, and that's what we've got to be. We've got to be opportunistic, and that's what we do. You know stats are for losers, except interceptions."
QB JOSH FREEMAN
(On game's expectations)
"We prepare every week to come out and win games. We know it's a divisional game, so it's pretty important but we expect to win every week. We know we have a good team, we know if we play up to our potential we're going to have a chance to win and today we proved that. Our defense came out and played great. Offensively, we were able to get some points on the board early and at the end, it was great to see the defense really step up because you know Drew Brees is going to make a push regardless. But our guys played a great game."
(On playing up to potential and RB Earnest Graham's play)
"No, today we didn't play close to our potential. You know, we played a good game, a game good enough to win but we left a lot of yards and a lot of points on the field offensively speaking. I mean, our defense played great but we could play better. But we'll say Earnest Graham played a fantastic game. He just did his thing, especially down in that four-minute [offense]. He was reading his blocks, making those cuts, and allowed us to get in our victory formation."
(On being at the top of the NFC South)
"We've always been a confident bunch. Coming in, like I said, we expect to go out and play well and we expect to go out and win. We're a young team, we're a good team but at the same time, it comes down to preparation and execution and if we can keep that at a high level. It's week six, nothing's decided at this point, and every win is extremely valuable. So, to get that win is just one step forward in the direction, the goal that we're headed to."
(On bouncing back from loss at San Francisco)
"Really that's just always our mentality. You know, we don't buy into all the hype, we took a step back [last week] and we just prepare and do everything exactly the same. We have, throughout the week, a standard operation procedure as far as from the standpoint of preparation, film study, and practice. We do the exact same thing every week and go out and try to play our best on Sundays."
"Our defense played great and gave us a chance to win. When your defense does that, you got to be happy. With three interceptions, especially at the end-that's huge. I think Coach Raheem [Morris] called a great game, I think our guys came out and executed, I think Tanard Jackson played extremely well."
(On the return of S Tanard Jackson)
"He's a guy in our locker room that everybody loves. He's a great player, and, obviously, he [was previously] suspended. I won't say it hurt our team, but, at the same time, he's a leader on our team and a leader on our defense, and a damn good player. Having him back is tremendous."
LB QUINCY BLACK
(On his interception in the end zone)
"Man to man defense. You know, Drew Brees doesn't make those kind of mistakes too often. [Tampa Bay was in the] right place, right time, made the play, [and] took a knee. "
(On playing following a loss last week)
"Well, you know, all that stuff it doesn't matter. We won the game. We got a game in London next week and we have to prepare for that."
(On the turnovers)
"[We] created turnovers at home. The crowd was going, it was an exciting atmosphere and happy to get away with the W."
WR ARRELIOUS BENN
(On the offense)
"We had a rough week last week in San Fran, and we came back. It started in practice, you know, with a day one. Each day we carried it over to the game [tonight]-us having great practices and us just transferring it over to the game. We knew what we did wrong. We just had to bounce back and just get back to playing Buc football."
(On the importance of the game)
"Oh yeah it's definitely important. It's a divisional game; it's kind of like a playoff game. [The] Saints are a very good team, we play them twice a year, and we're gonna have to play even a better game the next time we play them. For us to come out and beat the Saints and Drew Brees is great, and we know we played the game that we needed to play."
(On Buccaneers RB Ernest Graham)
"That was big. We knew Ernest [Graham] was going to do that. Ernest is a guy that we depend on. We look up to him. He's a leader on and off the field, and he's a great guy on and off the field."
CB RONDE BARBER
(On bouncing back from last week's loss to San Francisco)
"What happened last week? Well, it wasn't us. It didn't feel like us. This was more our type of game. We're familiar with the Saints and they're familiar with us. We gave them some different looks here and there. We can feel comfortable out there playing situational ball."
(On being a resilient young team)
"Yeah, Raheem [Morris] said it last week. Good teams take that beating and find a way to bounce back and we did. We had a great week of practice, and, if you ask Rah, some of what happened last week started on Wednesday and Thursday, so we definitely had a more energized practice this week. We were on the details of what these guys [Saints] do, and, like I said, we're familiar with these guys. [We] didn't try to beat ourselves. I felt like we beat ourselves last week [against San Francisco]."
(On the matchup with Saints TE Jimmy Graham)
"He is by far their most targeted player, and you know why. He's tough to deal with no matter who's on him. Whether it's me or Sean J [Jones] or any of the linebackers. He's a basketball player, you know. He posts up and takes jump balls. [You] just have to be prepared for his catches, and he had some. We were ready for him; we knew he would get [targeted by Brees]."
RB EARNEST GRAHAM
(On the impact of last week's loss on today's win)
"We feel that wasn't us last week, for whatever reason. We saw that on film, and we left it on the field, but we left it there in San Francisco. We came out and we knew we had a chance today to punch first place [in the division].We had the Saints coming in. We didn't have time to sulk about [the loss] and that's really one of the traits of our team. When things happen within a given drive, within a given game, we are able to put things behind us."
(On being a starter)
"No, I don't focus on anything; I don't feel entitled to anything. You know, I just count my blessings and I'm happy I play football. I never felt entitled to be the starting running back or to anything. When you feel that way and just handle your work and handle your career, you want to be able to step up and be ready when it's time, because you know you not dealing with sulking over certain things. I'm not like that."
WR MIKE WILLIAMS
(On the win)
"It feels great. When you get a win, it feels great. It doesn't matter how we get the win. It doesn't matter how we do it."
(On the impact of the run attack from Earnest Graham on the passing game)
"I've been telling him all week, ‘Come on man, get that old body moving.' I've been playing with him and stuff. He got it moving today, it helped a lot. Got the passing game going. With him doing that, it helped us a lot."
(On the receiving corps)
"We always put it upon ourselves. They always say to us that we are the drivers of the bus; the whole team tells us that. When we say our whole team is on the bus, the receivers are the drivers. So if we got no drivers then the bus doesn't move. So we got to get it going, and that's how we always looked at it."
CB E.J. BIGGERS
(On his interception)
"We needed it. I mean, it was a long time coming-we had one [in the] first game. We needed one."
(On the win)
"It was a division opponent, a rivalry game, for first place in the division. It was a chance to take first place in the division, and that's all that needed to be said."
(On going forward having to make the trip to London)
"We'll watch the film, catch some mistakes. [We] left some plays out there on the field. It's going to be like that in every game. Something's going to happen that you could correct and get better at. We are going to do that and get better and keep growing as a team and as a defense."
P MICHAEL KOENEN
(On tonight's game)
"The coverage teams did good. Offensively, we moved the ball. It was just a good night."
(On the importance of field position)
"It's huge. Our coverage teams did a good job all night limiting [RB Darren] Sproles. It's big when an offense has to start inside their 20, let alone inside their 10, consistently, so they have to drive a long field. It's big."
(On playing a big part in the win)
"It feels good to get this win. It feels good to see everybody smiling. It feels good to do it at home, to see our offense move the ball like they did, and our defense getting turnovers. It was just a great night."
(On being 4-2)
"It feels good, but you have to flush the good feeling just like you flush the bad feeling and reset for next week. We'll enjoy it for a day, get on a plane, and then it's back to business."
WR PRESTON PARKER
(On the win)
"We went out there, everyone played together, played with one mind, and that's what we did."
(On the effectiveness of the offense)
"Coach [Greg] Olson wanted us to go out there, score first, score fast, and he said that we'd be able to handle them and let the defense go out there. And that's what we did. We went out there, scored fast, and got some points on the board early."
(On his second-quarter touchdown)
"It was an option route. I have the option to go out or the option to take it up the seam, and I just crossed the space and Josh [Freeman] saw me, made eye contact, he drilled it, I caught it, and I was in for six [points]."
(On the punt return in the second half)
"Anything to help the team. That's part of the game, getting hit hard. It kind of amped me up a little bit, so it was good to just get that W."
S TANARD JACKSON
(On being back)
"It feels great. Words can't even express how I'm feeling right now. It's just an emotional day for me from the start. I'm just glad we got this win, that's the biggest thing."
(On the interception)
"It was big because it helped this team. Any big plays we get gives momentum to this team. I'm just grateful. Grateful to get another opportunity to be back in the locker room with these guys."
(On getting more comfortable as the game went on)
"Yeah, muscle memory. After that first drive, that first play, actually, and first hit, all of that was out the window, I was back in my element."
V-Roll Roll Call