Impact Drive: Saints Outlast Buccaneers With Masterful Two-Minute Drill

Saints PK Garrett Hartley looks up as he kicks the winning field goal against Tampa Bay. - Al Messerschmidt

With 1:06 left on the clock and no timeouts, Drew Brees and the Saints' offense stepped up when it mattered most and engineered a great final drive to outlast the Buccaneers this past Sunday. Here's a film breakdown of the plays that led to the winning field goal against Tampa Bay.

After two games in the 2013 season, the New Orleans Saints have a flawless 2-0 record with victories over division rivals Atlanta falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Each win, however, has come in the waning seconds of the game and in most dramatic fashion.

After New Orleans' defense made a goal line stand against the Falcons to win the first game, it was the teams' offense, led by quarterback Drew Brees, who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against the Buccaneers this past Sunday.

Trailing 14-13 with no timeouts and 1.06 to go in the fourth quarter, the Saints took possession of the ball at their own 37-yard line after Tampa Bay had missed a 47-yard field goal seconds earlier.

In three quick pass plays, Brees guided the Saints offense 54 yards to the Buccaneers 9-yard line. With five seconds to go, Garrett Hartley kicked the winning field goal as time expired, giving New Orleans at 16-14 thrilling victory.

Despite a spotty performance throughout the game, as our film breakdown will show, the Saints' offensive line came through when it mattered most, in what turned out to be the drive of the game.

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First down and 10: Saints' 37-yard line.

The Saints opened the drive with a trips right/single left formation. On the trips, wide receiver Kenny Stills is running a go route along the sideline (blue arrow), wide receiver Marques Colston is running a seam/post route (yellow arrow) and tight end Jimmy Graham is running a post route from the slot (red arrow). On the left side, wide receiver Robert Meachem is running a go route (green arrow). The Bucs start the play with four down linemen and a shallow "Cover 2 Man" defense.

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Next frame:

At the snap of the ball, the middle of the Saints offensive line (left guard Ben Grubbs, center Brian De La Puente and right guard Jahri Evans) are easily keeping Buccaneers defensive tackles Gerald McCoy (#93) and Gary Gibson (#95) in check. The most intriguing matchup in this play is the one opposing Saints' left tackle Charles Brown (#71, gold arrow) and Buccaneers right defensive end Adrian Clayborn (#94, dark red arrow) who had a sack earlier in the game.

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As quarterback Drew Brees (#9, red circle) drops back to pass, Saints right tackle Zach Strief (#64, black jersey yellow circle) is manhandling Buccaneers left defensive end Da'Quan Bowers (#91, white jersey, yellow circle). Charles Brown however (#71, gold arrow), appears to have allowed Clayborn (#94, dark red arrow) to speed rush past him towards Brees.

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Brown however, shows great lateral quickness and is able to push Clayborn past Brees who is now stepping up in the pocket. Strief on the right side is still in control of Bowers (yellow circle).

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With Brown being able to keep Clayborn off Brees, the Saints' quarterback winds up to throw a pass in the seam to tight end Jimmy Graham. Brees releases the ball after a healthy 3 seconds in the pocket.

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Graham (#80, red arrow) catches the ball and is tackled at the Buccaneers 48-yard line by Tampa Bay's free safety Dashon Goldson (#38, blue arrow) for a gain of 15 yards.

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First down and 10: Buccaneers' 48-yard line.

In full hurry-up mode, the Saints use the same exact trips right/single left formation they employed in the previous play. This time however, instead of running an-in route as he did in the previous play, running back Darren Sproles (pink arrow) runs a screen route in the flat.

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This is a staple of the Saints' offense under Sean Payton. At the snap, Brees fakes a downfield throw by staring in the middle of the field (dashed yellow arrow). Left guard Ben Grubbs (gold arrow) and center Brian De La Puente (blue arrow) sell the pass protection by blocking Tampa's defensive tackles momentarily. Meanwhile, Sproles (#43, pink arrow) releases into the flat.

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As soon as Brees passes the ball (yellow circle) to Sproles (#43, pink arrow), Grubbs (#66, gold arrow) and De La Puente (#60, blue arrow) release downfield to block for their running back. Left tackle Charles Brown (#71) directs Adrian Clayborn (#94) to the inside to keep him from potentially tackling Sproles.

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Sproles sets up his blockers who take care of Tampa Bay's incoming defenders.

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Sproles is tackled at the Tampa Bay's 40-yard line by cornerback Johnthan Banks after a catch and run of eight yards.

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Second down and 2: Buccaneers' 40-yard line.

They say "if it ain't broke don't fix it." New Orleans adhered to this philosophy by using the trips right/single left formation at the line of scrimmage once again. The primary wide receiver here is Marques Colston, who runs a seam route (yellow arrow) just outside the right hash marks of the field.

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As the ball is snapped, Brees immediately looks to throw deep and two matchups emerge as crucial on the play. On the left side, the one on one battle between Saints' left tackle Charles Brown (#71, gold arrow) and Bucs right defensive end Adrian Clayborn (#94, pink arrow). On the right, Saints' right tackle Zach Strief (#64, blue arrow) contending with left defensive end Da'Quan Bowers (#91, dark red arrow).

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Next frame:

Brees drops back as Clayborn (#94, pink arrow) bears down on him. Brown (#71, gold arrow) again is seemingly trailing on the play. Strief (#64, blue arrow) contains Bowers (#91, dark red arrow).

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Next frame:

Brees smartly steps up in the pocket, while Brown pushes Clayborn deeper in the backfield. Strief, on the right side, has Bowers under control.

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With Bowers on the ground and Clayborn too late to impact the play, Brees heaves a pass in the seam towards Marques Colston.

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The success of this play also highly depends on the wide receiver winning his one on one matchup with the defender. Perhaps the Buccaneers most egregious error in this sequence is to have had their all-pro cornerback Darrelle Revis (#24, dark red arrow) on Saints' rookie receiver Kenny Stills (#84, yellow arrow) instead of matching him with the all-time leader in receptions in Saints' history, Marques Colston (#12, red arrow). On the play, Colston is guarded by Bucs cornerback Leonard Johnson (#29, blue arrow).

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Next frame:

As the Bucs double up on tight end Jimmy Graham (#80) and Revis runs step for step with Stills along the sideline, Colston (red arrow) gains inside position on Johnson. All Brees has to do now is place the ball on his inside shoulder.

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Next frame:

Brees throws a beautiful ball right over Colston's left shoulder, away from Johnson.

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Next frame:

Colston catches the ball and is tackled by Johnson at the Tampa Bay 9-yard line, setting up the winning 27-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley.

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Winner Winner, Gumbo Dinner!

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