After an incredibly disappointing 26-9 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome last Sunday, the New Orleans Saints (8-2) were looking to bounce back as they took on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7) in Tampa in their second consecutive division game. In order to keep pace with the Green Bay Packers (8-2) and the San Francisco 49ers (8-1) atop the NFC, the Saints had no choice but to bow their neck and try to grab a suddenly much-needed victory in Tampa.
IN THE FIRST HALF, the Saints received the ball and proceeded to dominate the time of possession, however their red zone issues reared their ugly head once again, as New Orleans would twice drive deep into Tampa Bay territory but fail to cash in via the touchdown, instead settling for two field goals early to take a 6-0 lead.
On the Bucs ensuing possession, their second of the game, a Jameis Winston pass to his tight end O.J. Howard would be bobbled and picked off by Saints’ linebacker Demario Davis at the Bucs’ 16-yard line. On the very next play, Brees would find Michael Thomas for a touchdown, pushing the Saints’ lead to 13-0 at the end of the first quarter.
After forcing Tampa Bay to punt on their third possession of the game, the Saints would take the ball for the fourth time in the game and take advantage of a great field position following an Alvin Kamara 27-yard return to New Orleans’ 49-yard line. The Saints would drive 51 yards capping the drive by a Brees touchdown pass to Jared Cook, who like Kamara, is finding his groove in this second half of the season.
The Buccaneers would finally find success on offense with a 75-yard drive highlighted by a 48-yard pass to wide receiver Scottie Miller to the Saints’ one-yard line. Jameis Winston would cap the drive with a short touchdown apss to Peyton Barber to put the Buccaneers on the scoreboard.
Leading 20-7, the Saints would get the ball back but get pushed behind the chains by a pass interference penalty on Tre’Quan Smith, forcing New Orleans to punt for the first time in the game. The Buccaneers would take the ball trying to narrow down the Saints’ lead, but a Jameis Winston pass tipped by Kiko Alonso would be intercepted by safety Vonn Bell, preserving New Orleans’ 13-point lead going into halftime.
IN THE SECOND HALF, the Saints would kick off to the Buccaneers, who would drive just into Saints territory and stall on a dropped pass by Mike Evans. Tampa Bay would settle for a field goal and narrow the Saints’ lead to 20-10.
On their first possession of the half, the Saints would drive 75 yards, capping their drive with a touchdown pass from Brees to Ted Ginn Jr., Brees’ third touchdown pass of the game. The drive was highlighted by a long pass to Michael Thomas down the sideline into the Bucs’ red zone. With the score, the Saints led 27-10.
On their second possession of the half, the Buccaneers would drive into Saints’ territory and finish the drive with a touchdown pass from Winston to Chris Godwin. Reducing the lead to 10 points once again at 27-17, the Bucs showed they were not going to go away quietly.
The Saints would get the ball leading by 10 and take their second possession of the half into the fourth quarter. After a punt by the Saints, the Buccaneers would take the ball to the Saints’ 49-yard line and go for it on fourth down and bye forced to punt after a pass interference penalty on Mike Evans.
The Saints would take the ball at their 33-yard line and drive into Buccaneers territory, eating up more clock but eventually stalling. After a punt, the Buccaneers would take over at their 11-yard line and go for it on 4th-and-10 at their own 32-yard line. Saints’ safety Marcus Williams would pick Winston and return the interception 55 yards for a touchdown, increasing the Saints’ lead to 34-17.
The Buccaneers would get the ball back and drive all the way to the Saints’ one-yard line, but cornerback P.J. Williams would pick Winston off in the end zone, the Saints’ fourth interception of the game.
The Saints would then take the ball and play keep away, finishing the game off by kneeling in the victory formation. The Saints at 8-2, rebound from a dismal performance last week against the Falcons. New Orleans will face the slumping Carolina Panthers (5-5) next Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Panthers lost 29-3 in Atlanta today. the irony here is that thanks to the Falcons, the Saints now have a three-game lead in the NFC South. Thanks Atlanta!
Here is how the game unfolded drive-by-drive
- Bucs kick off and Taysom Hill returns to the Saints’ 14-yard line. Saints gain their first “first down” with a run by Latavius Murray. Brees finds Kamara in the flat, the running back fumbles, but the Bucs fail to recover, giving the Saints another chance. Brees finds Jared Cook for a long 30-yard reception into Bucs’ territory. Taysom Hill gets sacked to push the Saints back. New Orleans eventually stalls and Wil Lutz makes a 44-yard field goal.
- NO: 3 – TB: 0
- Buccaneers take over at their 25-yard line. Bucs go three-and-out and have to punt. Alvin Kamara lines up to return the punt and is dropped right at the 23-yard line.
- Saints start with a 17-yard pass to Alvin Kamara. Kamara runs for 8 yards on the next play, looking healthier than he has been all season. Saints get into Bucs territory on yet another run by Kamara. Brees finds Ted Ginn Jr. for a first down to extend the drive. The reception was Ginn Jr’s 400th of his career. Brees finds Michael Thomasfor a first down in the bucs’ red zone. Thomas’ 87th reception as he goes over 1000-yard for the year. Saints get near the goal line but a hold on Jared Cook pushes them back. Saints eventually stall inside the 10-yard line and Wil Lutz makes a 26-yard field goal.
- NO: 6 – TB: 0
- Bucs return the kickoff to their own 21-yard line. On the second play of the game, Demario Davis intercepts a pass bobbled by O.J. Howard at the Bucs’ 16-yard line.
- On the very next play and the final play of the quarter, Brees finds Michael Thomas for a touchdown as the quarter ends.
- NO: 13 – TB: 0
- Bucs take over at their 25-yard line after the touchback. Bucs get near midfield after a pass interference penalty on rookie corner C.J. Gardner-Johnson. On 3rd-and-9 from the Bucs 46-yard line, the Saints sack Jameis Winston, forcing the Bucs to punt.
- Alvin Kamara returns the punt for 27 yards near midfield. Saints get into Bucs territory on a run by Alvin Kamara. Saints move inside the Bucs’ 30-yard line on runs by Kamara and Zach Line. Saints get into the red zone on passes to Michael Thomas. Saints get insde the Bucs’ 5-yard line on a pass to Alvin Kamara. Brees finds Jared Cook for a touchdown.
- NO: 20 – TB: 0
- Bucs take over at their 25-yard line after the touchback. Bucs move into Saints’ territory on throws by Jameis Winston to his tight end Cameron Brate. Winston finds his wide receiver Scottie Miller for a long pass to the Saints’ 1-yard line. On third down, Winston finds Peyton Barber for a touchdown.
- NO: 20 – TB: 7
- Saints take over at their 25-yard line, a pass interference penalty on Tre’Quan Smith negates an 18-yard screen play by Alvin Kamara. Penalties again are thwarting Saints drives. Brees throws two incomplete passes to Ted Ginn Jr., forcing the Saints to punt for the first time in the game.
- Bucs return the punt to their 43-yard line. Despite forcing a three-and-out, a penalty (another one) on P.J. Williams keeps the Bucs’ drive alive. Winston uses magic to keep the Bucs drive alive. Vonn Bell picks Jameis Winston off on the last play of the quarter after Kiko Alonso had tipped the pass.
- The half ends with the Saints leading 20-7.
- Bucs take over at their 25-yard line and move into Saints’ territory on a pass to Cameron Brate. Bucs finally stall on a big drop by Mike Evans, and the Bucs settle for a 55-yard field goal.
- NO: 20 – TB: 10
- Saints take over at their 25-yard line. Saints move to their 40-yard line when Drew Brees finds Michael Thomas for a long pass into the Bucs’ red zone. Saints get inside the Bucs’ 10-yard line. Brees finds Ted Ginn Jr. for a touchdown, Brees’ third touchdown of the game.
- NO: 27 – TB: 10
- Bucs take over at their 25-yard line. On the third play of the drive, Cameron Jordan sacks Jameis Winston, but on the nest two plays, Winston converts to keep the Bucs’ drive going. Bucs get into Saints’ territory on a nice back-shoulder pass from Winston to Mike Evans. Winston finds Chris Godwin for a 30-yard touchdown that catches the Saints on a blitz.
- NO: 27 – TB: 17
- Saints take over at their 25-yard line, Brees immediately find Michael Thomas for a 15-yard gain. On the next two plays, the Saints lose seven yards and face third-and-long as the quarter ends.
- Brees throws an incomplete pass and the Saints have to punt for the second time of the game.
- Bucs take over at their 15-yard line and Winston makes plays with his arm and his feet to gain yards. On 4th-and-1 from the Saints’ 49-yard line, the Bucs go for it. Winston completes the pass, but Mike Evans is called for a pass interference, forcing the Bucs to punt.
- Saints take over at their own 33-yard line and get to midfield with a pass to Michael Thomas and a run by Latavius Murray. Saints stall on 3rd-and-one at the Bucs’ 46-yard line. Brees jumps to make the line of gain, making it a first down. The Saints would eventually stall and punt, pining the bucs inside their 15-yard line.
- Bucs take over at their 11-yard line. On the first play, Winston finds Mike Evans for 21 yards. On 4th-and-10 from their own 32-yard line, Jameis Winston throws a pick-six to Marcus Williams, who returns it 55 yards for a touchdown.
- NO: 34 – TB: 17
- Bucs start at their 25-yard line after the touchback. Sheldon Rankins roughs the passer which takes Tampa Bay into Saints’ territory. On 4th-and-10 from the Saints 35-yard line, a holding penalty on C.J. Gardner-Johnson keeps the Bucs’ drive alive. Mike Evans then receives a pass that takes him to the Saints’ one-yard line. P.J. Williams intercepts a pass by Jameis Winston in the end zone, the Saints’ fourth interception of the game.
- Saints take over at their 20-yard line and face a 3rd-and-2 at the two-minute warning. Latavius Murray converts the down to keep the ball with the Saints, who kneel to win the game with the Bucs out of timeouts.
- Saints Win! Saints Win!
Who gets your game ball for the Saints after today’s win?
This poll is closed
The Defense, with four interceptions
Drew Brees, who rebounded from a bad game with 3 TD passes
Alvin Kamara, who looks like he’s back 100% healthy
Michael Thomas who is the best player on the Saints right now
Jared Cook, who is truly finding his groove in this offense
The quintuple bacon burger doesn’t need a game ball