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NFC South Champions!!!

Saints rally to beat the Bucs 28-14, win their second consecutive NFC South crown!

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

On the heels of their first defeat in their last 11 games, the New Orleans Saints (11-2) were trying to rediscover their winning ways on the road against the suddenly somewhat competent Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-8). The Saints had one more incentive in winning today: a victory would give them the NFC South crown for a second consecutive year, a first in franchise history.


Here is how the game unfolded:

1st HALF

The Saints won the toss and deferred to the second half. Taking the ball at their own 25-yard line, the Bucs would drive right down the field in less than three minutes, with quarterback Jameis Winston finding his tight end Cameron Brate for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead for Tampa Bay.

On their first possession, the Saints would move the ball into Bucs territory, but a penalty on Jermon Bushrod in Tampa Bay territory would put them behind the chains, forcing them to punt.

On Tampa Bay’s second possession of the game, the Bucs would drive from their 20-yard line to the Saints’ 48, but stall and punt the ball back to New Orleans.

The Saints second possession would start at New Orleans’ 11-yard line and go backwards, resulting in a second consecutive punt for Thomas Morstead. Just like last week against Dallas, the Saints’ offense seemed to moving in quicksand, unable to get any traction.

Starting their next possession at their 25-yard line, the Buccaneers once again find space to move football. Tampa Bay would get all the down to the Saints’ 20-yard line, but a sack of Jameis Winston by Cameron Jordan would force the Bucs to attempt a field goal, which Cairo Santos missed from 46 yards out.

The Saints would start their first drive of the second quarter at their own 36-yard line, because of the field goal miss. New Orleans, for the first time of the game, would look somewhat efficient on offense and drive all the way to the Bucs’ 12-yard line before settling for a 30-yard field goal, which Wil Lutz converted to trim the Bucs’ lead to 7-3.

On their ensuing drive, the Bucs would go backwards with a litany of penalties, forcing them to punt eventually on a 4th and 31.

Taking over at their 31-yard line, the Saints move the football near midfield, when Drew Brees would throw his fourth interception of the season. Drew Brees in the last two games is definitely playing subpar football and as he goes, so goes the Saints’ offense. And right now, it’s not going well.

The Bucs take over at the Saints 39-yard line and drive into the red zone, capitalizing on Drew Brees’ interception with a touchdown from Jameis Winston to Cameron Brate for a 14-3 lead going into halftime.

2nd HALF

Starting the half with the ball, the Saints would give up possession on the second play, as Brees fumbled and the Bucs recovered at New Orleans’ 27-yard line. The Saints’ defense once again would bail out its offense, forcing Tampa into attempting a 40-yard field goal, which Cairo Santos missed.

Just like that, the Saints had yet another opportunity to reduce Tampa’s advantage on the scoreboard with the ball at their 30-yard line. Instead, New Orleans would go three-and-out, unable to pick up a third-and-one on a running play by Mark Ingram. New Orleans would punt the ball back, the third punt of the game for Thomas Morstead.

On their next possession, the Bucs move the ball up to their 41-yard line when they stall. Taysom Hill blocks the punt and the Saints take over at Tampa Bay’s 30-yard line.

The Saints would finally find some running room, as they got in the red zone on two runs by Mark Ingram. After Alvin Kamara got the team to the Bucs’ one-yard line, Drew Brees would find his fullback Zach Line for a touchdown. The Saints would then convert a two-point play with Alvin Kamara running into the end zone and bringing the Saints within three points of Tampa Bay, at 14-11 with 4:43 left in the third quarter.

On their ensuing possession, the Saints’ defense would force the first three-and-out by the Bucs, in a drive marked by sacks of Jameis Winston by A.J. Klein and Cameron Jordan once again, who is playing out of his mind this season.

The Saints would start their next drive at their own 48-yard line and move all the way down into Tampa Bay’s red zone as the fourth quarter started. After getting all the way to Tampa Bay’s 2-yard line, the Saints stalled at Tampa’s one-yard line, when on fourth-and-goal, Drew Brees ran his patented “Fleur-de-leap” into the end zone for a touchdown. The point-after-touchdown would give the Saints their first lead of the day at 18-14, with 11:46 left in the game.

Keeping up with their theme of the day, the Saints defense would rise to the occasion, while the Bucs would shoot themselves in the foot with penalties. For the second consecutive possession, the Bucs would go three-and-out and punt the ball to New Orleans.

Starting at their own 47-yard line, the Saints would drive 53 yards into the end zone with a gritty run by Mark Ingram, extending their lead to 11 points. From trailing by 11 points at halftime, the Saints had gone on a 22-0 run over the Bucs with 7:26 left in the game.

On the next possession for the Bucs, Tampa Bay gets one first down, but Jameis Winston is sacked by Sheldon Rankins, forcing Tampa Bay to punt again. To this point of the game, the Saints defense had shut out the Bucs’ offense in the second half.

On the Saints next drive, New Orleans would use the running game to bleed down some clock and get deep into Buccaneers territory. At the two-minute warning the Saints had a third-and-8 at the Bucs’ 12-yard line and New Orleans would eventually settle for a Wil Lutz’ 36-yard field goal, extending their lead to 28-14.

The Bucs take over at their 25-yard line and drive into Saints territory as New Orleans plays prevent defense to bleed the clock. On a desperation throw, Marshon Lattimore intercepts Jameis Winston and seals the win.

Saints end the game on a 25-0 run and WIN THE NFC SOUTH for the second consecutive year!

The Saints (11-2) are now in the playoffs and will keep jockeying for the number one seed in the NFC!


Here is a quarter by quarter timeline of the game:

1st Quarter

  • Saints win the toss and defer to the second half
  • Bucs take over at their 25-yard line
  • Jameis Winston finds Mike Evans for 36 yards into Saints territory
  • Jameis Winston runs into the Saints red zone
  • Jameis Winston finds Cameron Brate for a touchdown
  • NO: 0 - TB: 7
  • Alvin Kamara returns the kickoff to the 27-yard line
  • Saints start with two running plays that gain minimal yards
  • Saints convert on third down to Michael Thomas
  • Saints get into Bucs territory on a pass to Michael Thomas
  • Saints stall near midfield on third down and have to punt
  • Thomas Morstead punts into the end zone
  • Bucs start from their 20-yard line
  • The Bucs drive is extended on a pass interference by Eli Apple
  • Saints get into Saints’ territory on a run by Peyton Barber
  • On 3rd and 8 just into Saints’ territory, Bucs stall and have to punt
  • Saints fair-catch the punt at their own 11-yard line
  • Saints go backwards in two plays and face a 3rd and 17 from their 2-yard line
  • Brees finds Keith Kirkwood for 13 yards but the Saints have to punt again
  • Bucs start at their 25-yard line
  • Winston converts two first downs as the quarter ends

2nd Quarter

  • Bucs get into Saints territory as the second quarter starts
  • Jameis Winston runs for a first down at the edge of the Saints’ red zone
  • Saints sack Jameis Winston on third down to force a field goal attempt
  • Cairo Santos misses a 46-yard attempt
  • Saints take over at their 36-yard line
  • Brees finds Michael Thomas for 18 yards into Bucs territory
  • Saints go into a no-huddle offense as they move down the field
  • Saints get into the Bucs red zone on a pass to Michael Thomas
  • Saints stall on 3rd down and attempt a field goal
  • Wil Lutz makes a 30-yard field goal
  • NO: 3 - TB: 7
  • Bucs return the kickoff to their 23-yard line
  • Bucs go backwards due to penalties and have to punt
  • Saints take over at their own 35-yard line
  • Drew Brees throws an interception on a screen play in Saints’ territory
  • Bucs take over at the Saints’ 39-yard line
  • A personal foul penalty on Demario Davis gives Tampa Bay the ball in the Saints red zone
  • Bucs get to the Saints’ one-yard line
  • Jameis Winston finds Cameron Brate for a touchdown
  • NO: 3 - TB: 14
  • Brees kneels on the ball and Bucs go into halftime with an 11-point lead

3rd Quarter

  • Alvin Kamara returns the kickoff to the Saints 27-yard line
  • Drew Brees fumbles the ball and the Bucs recover
  • Bucs take over at the Saints’ 27-yard line
  • Bucs do not get a first down and attempt a field goal
  • Cairo Santos misses a 40-yard field goal
  • Saints take over at their 30-yard line, still trailing 14-3
  • On 3rd and 1, the Saints fail to convert as they can’t run the ball
  • Saints punt and Tampa Bay takes over at their own 13-yard line
  • Bucs convert third downs on runs by Jameis Winston
  • Tampa Bay stalls at their own 41-yard line and punts
  • Taysom Hill blocks the punt, which is recovered by the Saints at the Bucs’ 30
  • Saints move into the red zone on two runs by Mark Ingram
  • Alvin Kamara gets the Saints to Tampa Bay’s one-yard line
  • Drew Brees finds fullback Zach Line for a touchdown
  • Alvin Kamara rushes into the end zone for a two-point conversion
  • NO: 11 - TB: 14
  • Bucs start at their 25-yard line after the touchback
  • Cam Jordan sacks Jameis Winston and the Bucs go three-and-out
  • Saints take over at their own 48-yard line
  • Brees finds Tommylee Lewis for 20 yards at the Bucs’ 31-yard line
  • Brees finds Alvin Kamara for a first down inside the red zone as the quarter ends

4th Quarter

  • Mark Ingram runs the ball to the Bucs 4-yard line
  • Saints get to the one-yard line and face a fourth-and-goal
  • Drew Brees leaps into the end zone for a touchdown
  • NO: 18 - TB: 14
  • Bucs start at their 9-yard line after a penalty on the kickoff
  • Bucs go three-and-out for the second consecutive possession
  • Saints return the punt to their own 47-yard line
  • Saints get into Bucs territory on a catch by Michael Thomas
  • Saints get into the red zone on a run by Alvin Kamara
  • Mark Ingram runs into the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown
  • NO: 25 - TB: 14
  • Bucs start at their 25-yard line after the touchback
  • Sheldon Rankins sacks Jameis Winston for a huge loss
  • Saints return the punt to their 41-yard line
  • Saints convert a big third down and get into Tampa Bay territory
  • Michael Thomas makes a spectacular catch to extend the drive
  • Saints run the ball with Taysom Hill and Kamara to bleed the clock
  • Wil Lutz makes a 36-yard field goal
  • NO: 28 - TB: 14
  • Bucs take over at their 25-yard line
  • Saints play prevent defense to bleed the clock
  • Marshon Lattimore picks off Jameis Winston to seal the game
  • Saints WIN! Saints WIN!
  • Final Score: NO: 28 - TB: 14


What player or unit gets your game ball for the Saints today?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Taysom Hill, his blocked punt changed the game
    (185 votes)
  • 27%
    The Saints defense, which shut down the Bucs in the 2nd half
    (77 votes)
  • 3%
    Cam Jordan, with 2 more sacks and relentless pressure!
    (11 votes)
  • 1%
    Michael Thomas, with 11 receptions for 98 yards
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    The Bleu Cheeseburger with bacon strips is the real MVP
    (2 votes)
278 votes total Vote Now