Saints win 35-28
Each quarter, this slideshow graded for how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' quarterback, offense, defense, special teams and coaches had done in this matchup.
The Saints started off slow, with a 21-7 defect, but since Drew Brees exploded in the second quarter, New Orleans has dominated, scoring 28 unanswered points.
The Bucs rallied, and the game literally came down to the last play.
It looks like the Bucs have tied the game on Mike Williams' TD catch, but it's negated by an illegal touching penalty. Game over.— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) October 21, 2012
Bucs fall to 2-4.
Saints advance to 2-4.
Overall Grade: A-
Q4 Grade: A++
Lost in Drew Brees' afternoon, Josh Freeman is over 400 yds passing— trey wingo (@wingoz) October 21, 2012
If only Josh could make it rain like this every week.
Q3 Grade: B+
Not a large sample size for this quarter, but we do have the beautiful throw on the 95-yard pass. That puts us at a B+, at the very least.
Q2 Grade: B+
It looks like this might be the Quarter of Good Freeman. Good Freeman took his team 50 yards with two throws. Throughout the game his play action fakes have been immaculate. He has 122 passing yards on the day.
Q1 Grade: C+
Josh Freeman made a nice throw on a quick slant while facing the blitz. It's not often we see that. Almost immediately after, he took a hit from Jonathan Vilma (he's baa-aack!) and overthrew his receiver, which nearly led to a pick.The first quarter has seen a lot more Bad Freeman than Good Freeman.
Overall Grade: B+
Q4 Grade: A
Within the last few weeks, we've seen drastic improvement in Doug Martin's receiving game. He has learned how to maximize the yard-after-catch, evidenced by his two catches for 32 yards off of short dumps offs.
Major props go out to Dallas Clark, who took a short reception for a first down. Need I mention it was 4th and 10?
Super major props go out to Dallas Clark again, who scored his first touchdown as a Buccaneer, bringing his team within a touchdown of the tie.
The offense had two beautiful drives in the fourth quarter, and came literally an inch of tying. If Vincent Jackson had just kept that foot in bounds...
Q3 Grade: B?
On the first drive of the quarter, Vincent Jackson made two clutch for 42 yards, using his size to make plays on the ball, plays that smaller receivers would have no chance of making. It should be noted as well that he made a NINETY-FIVE YARD CATCH!!!
Doug Martin has continued his dominance, while the offensive line has continued its mediocrity, allowing Bucs running backs to be hit behind the line of scrimmage on a semi-regular basis.
What really killed the team, was failing to score after Jackson's mega reception. You can blame the offensive line/playcalling for that one.
Q2 Grade: B
Wow, Doug Martin has been forcing missed tackles left and right, and is really making up for an offensive line that hasn't been too sharp when it comes to run blocking. The offensive line has also struggled with pass protection, as sophomore Cameron Jordan has had a very good day so far rushing Freeman.
Q1 Grade: B
Congrats to Tiquan Underwood on his first career touchdown. Congrats to Doug Martin on his new career-best rush, a 36-yard touchdown sprint.
Overall Grade: C
Q4 Grade: B
The defense wasn't on the field much in the fourth quarter, but besides for giving up a touchdown within the first two minutes, they weren't too shabby. Stopping the Saints on 3rd-and-3 as the clock wound down to the two minute mark was clutch.
Q3 Grade: C
I can't believe the defense continues to try the three-man rush on third down. I also can't believe that they haven't caught on to the draw plays.
Brees' 35 yard toss to Lance Moore on third down that was followed up by multiple first down runs is a prime example of this.
Q2 Grade: F
Eric Wright should have his salary docked for blowing that coverage AND the tackleon the Joseph Morgan touchdown.Whoever is supposed to be covering Devri Henderson needs to be fired. Immediately. The wide out has 75 yards on three catches. Lance Moore has 84 receiving yards.
To be fair, though, Brees has not had difficulty throwing to any of his other receivers. Drew Brees has 313 yards and four touchdown passes on 25 passes.
That's 21 points in the second quarter alone.
Q1 Grade: B-
Funny how Ronde Barber puts up an interception in his 222nd career start, a franchise record he set this week A lot of the credit for the pick goes to Gerald McCoy, who tipped the ball at the line of scrimmage.
The defense follows the turnover with a three-and-out on their next series.
It looks like the Bucs will miss Aqib Talib plenty this week. Saints receiver Marques Colston has three receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown. Drew Brees has 97 yards on nine passes.
Overall Grade: B-
Q4 Grade: B
The key for the fourth quarter special teams was not making mistakes. The Bucs special teams didn't make any mistakes.
Q3 Grade: C
Connor Barth missed a field goal kick. Oh, dear.There wasn't a whole lot that the Bucs could've to keep Thomas Morstead's punt from going out of bounds at the TB four-yard line, but not running into the kicker on the play before might have helped.
Q2 Grade: C+
Another kickoff, another touchback by Michael Koenen. Arrelious Benn made an absolutely terrible decision to return a kickoff I've yards deep in the end zone. He made it to the Bucs nine-yard line. Punt team tackling has to improve. If not for a holding call, Darren Sproles would have had a 25-yard punt return.
Q1 Grade: B
Roscoe Parrish actually did something as a punt returner! He forced a missed tackle! On a nine yard return too! Michael Koenen has been perfect on kickoffs, with all three going for touchbacks.
For all of the bonehead penalties that the Bucs had on this drive, the Saints bail them out with an illegal contact penalty. (Bleacher Report)
The Bucs have made some outrageously stupid penalties in this one, which reflects badly on their coaches. The worst was an unsportsmanlike conduct which gave the Saints, who were to kick a 56-yard field goal, a first down. It looked like the Bucs were trying to draw New Orleans offsides, and of course, the refs drop the hammer.
The coaches kept this one close, with those last three series.
Q3 Grade: C
Following the 95-yard reception, the Bucs try to pound the ball right down the gut three straight times, go for it on fourth down, and for some reason, call a bootleg that not-so-surprisingly comes up empty. They could have tied the game on that series, but failed to do so, despite being within two yards of the score.
Q2 Grade: C+
Greg Schiano might have a copy of Steve Spagnuolo's playbook. The Bucs seem to have uncovered receivers on roughly 66 percent of plays. One exceptionally fantastic defensive call was a Lavonte David blitz that rocked running back Pierre Thomas for a four-yard loss.
The Bucs also need to blitz more, or find a soft spot in the offensive line so they can finally pressure Brees. The secondary hasn't played well, but giving Brees too much time is a death sentence.
Q1 Grade: B
Greg Schiano is starting to get creative. He actually called a flea flicker, which I don't think he has ever done before. By attacking the secondary, the Bucs have had an easier time running the ball. It doesn't even look like they need the Good Josh Freeman to show up to have success.