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Saints-Buccaneers: Saints Beat Tampa with Long Ball and Defense, Yes, Defense!

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Saints-Buccaneers: Saints Beat Tampa with Long Ball and Defense, Yes, Defense!

The New Orleans Saints defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-20. The game lived up to its billing as a tough, back-and-forth contest.

The Saints scored all three of their touchdowns off the arm of Drew Brees. David Patten capped off the first drive with a 39-yard touchdown reception, after he burned rookie Aqib Talib. 

The Saints didn't score another touchdown until the end of the third quarter. Devery Henderson scored on an 84-yard go route that was helped by an offsides penalty by the Bucs at the beginning of the play.

The Saints' final touchdown was probably their most spectacular. Reggie Bush caught a swing pass from Drew Brees, juked, and stiff-armed his way to a diving touchdown. That play put the Saints up for good, 24-20.

As good as the offense played, the defense may have played even better. They held the Bucs to only one offensive touchdown and defensed several passes. They even held Joey "the white tiger" Galloway to six catches for 56 yards. Galloway has a history of torching the Saints' secondary in the past.

Several new acquisitions made their presence felt on the defensive side of the ball. Middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma was credited with nine tackles, and defensive end Bobby McCray got his first sack for the Saints. 

The Saints' first two draft choices, Sedrick Ellis and Terry Porter, each made an impact in their first NFL game. Ellis helped allow the Saints put pressure on Jeff Garcia without blitzing. Porter played solid man defense on Joey Galloway and Antonio Bryant.

Despite all of this, the Bucs had a chance to win it in the end. Jeff Garcia drove the Bucs to the Saints' 24-yard line with less than a minute left. In recent years, the Saints would have rolled over and given up the touchdown. This time was different. Scott Fujita sealed the victory with a fourth-down interception. 

The Saints begin 2008 much differently than they started 2007. They look to continue their success next week in Washington.

 

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