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Bucs vs Saints First Half Recap - Saints Dominate to 24-0 Lead

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Saints dominate first half to take a 24-0 lead over struggling Bucs.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

After a concerning start to the game that saw the unwelcome appearance of Mike "Holding!" Carrey as the lead zebra and FB Jed Collins temporarily go down with injury, the Saints came out and clearly owned the 1st half. Their first drive was a 3:48 surgical strike ending with a short TD pass to TE David Thomas over the middle. Drew Brees looked like his normally Ginsu-sharp self as the Saints took a 7-0 lead. Their second drive ended on yet another Darren Sproles dropped pass (GAAAA!) that had the potential to be a big play had he only hauled it in.

Meanwhile, the Bucs offense looked like they forgot to get off the bus. Steve Spagnoulo's defense held them to a three and out on their first drive and their second drive came to an abrupt halt in the red zone as CB Jabari Greer grabbed his 11th career interception.

The second quarter began with the Saints threatening to increase their lead from deep inside Bucs territory. This drive ended on the oh-so-familiar note of a dropped pass by TE Jimmy Graham leading to a Garret Hartley FG and a Saints 10-0 lead. The Bucs followed with yet another three and out stalled drive.

After a Saints punt and a Bucs drive into Saints territory, S Rafael Bush gave Josh Freeman his second INT of the half and then used some Reggie Bush-like moves to run the ball to midfield. Drew Brees then orchestrated his second TD drive of the half, this time ending on a Sproles TD catch. Saints 17, Bucs 0.

The Bucs offense still couldn't get on track and were forced into yet another punt with under two minutes remaining. This gave Drew Brees more than enough time to lead his unit to another score on a WR Lance Moore TD pass. Saints 24, Bucs 0.

I'm not sure if we're seeing a Saints team firing on all cylinders and possibly motivated by their triumph over Goodell this week or a demoralized Bucs team that's already thinking about next year. I choose to believe it's the former.

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TEAM STATS

TB NO
First Downs 4 16
Total Yards 96 263
Passing Yards 81 207
Rushing Yards 15 56
Penalties (Yds) 2(10) 5(45)
Turnovers 2 0
Punts (AVG) 4(39) 3(42)
Time of Pos. 10:44 19:16

TOP PERFORMERS

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
J. Freeman 7/16 85 0 2
Rushing CAR YDS TD LG
D. Martin 8 16 0 11
J. Freeman 1 -1 0 -1
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
D. Ware 2 32 0 23
M. Williams 2 32 0 24
D. Clark 2 6 0 4
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
D. Brees 19/29 216 3 0
Rushing CAR YDS TD LG
D. Sproles 2 16 0 15
D. Henderson 1 13 0 13
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
J. Graham 4 59 0 24
D. Sproles 4 14 1 7
M. Colston 3 60 0 26