Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints: Live Score, Video and Analysis
Bucs 16, Saints 27, Final
Here we go again, the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Bucs are at it again, and this time the Saints were the victors in a 27-16 performance.
The Saints are now 6-3 and the Bucs are 4-4, and more importantly, the Saints are now undoubtedly in the driver's seat.
The Saints entered this game after coming off of a disappointing loss to the Rams last week, and many fans believe they've underperformed this year on account of how much talent they possess. Well, the Saints played much better this week.
They tackled well on defense and had a balanced attack on offense that gave them the edge in this football game.
These were my live updates and analysis during the divisional clash.
Highlights from the game, courtesy of NFL.com
Bucs 16, Saints 27, Final
You're killing me refs: The Bucs call their first timeout after a first down run, and Sproles breaks loose on second down for a touchdown! Henderson gets called for holding though, and it was a pancake. Man, these refs have really made some bad calls today. Terrible, terrible call.
Thomas follows up the Sproles run with an eight-yard run that breaks four tackles. Amazing effort by Thomas there.
Ice it with the leg of Kasay: On third-and-one, the Bucs stop the Saints and call their last timeout. Instead of going for the field goal, the Saints keep Brees and company out on the field. They tried to draw the Bucs offsides, and now they'll kick the field goal with John Kasay. He nails it, and the Saints are back up by two possessions.
The Bucs don't have any timeouts, so they're hurrying. Freeman makes a couple plays with his arm and his feet. The clock continues to click down, and the Saints have officially won this football game.
Bucs 16, Saints 24, 4Q, 2:00
The Saints get the ball back, and on the first play, Brees hits Graham for a first down gain. That's more like it. The Saints are mixing it up with play-action passes and rushing attacks now, and they're mounting another nice drive here.
Brees is accurately placing the ball where only his receivers can catch it. As the clock winds down, the Saints call their first timeout before a crucial third down play.
Brees drops back to pass, and the middle of the line opens up like the Red Sea and Brees takes off. He gained 20 yards on the ground there, and now the Saints are sitting pretty at near the Bucs 30 yard line.
Bucs 16, Saints 24, 4Q, 5:33
3-and-out: The Saints go three-and-out, and the play-calling on that series left me scratching my head. The Saints have the best third down quarterback in the league, and they run a draw to Sproles on third-and-long? I realize they were trying to catch the Bucs off-guard, but still. Anyway Bucs get the ball around their 20-yard line.
This is familiar: Saints flex on defense, and they bring the pressure on third down to force a high pass from Freeman. But once again, the Saints bail the Bucs out with a penalty on third down. How many times have we seen this? A lot of dumb penalties by both teams at crucial moments.
..And here comes the drama: Freeman throws the ball on second down, and Roman Harper lays the wood on Kregg Lumpkin! How about the year Harper has had? Freeman and the Bucs are driving now and starting to find a groove. Freeman is so good in these late fourth quarter situations. The Saints get called for a passing interference call that was an absolutely terrible call, and Freeman hits Kellen Winslow for a touchdown. Would you expect anything else from these two teams?
Bucs 9, Saints 24, 4Q, 11:08
Reverse, Reverse!: The Bucs open up the fourth quarter with a reverse, and the Saints sniffed it out from the get-go. The Saints are lacking in depth at the cornerback position right now as Patrick Robinson and Tracy Porter are both out of the game.
Robinson is back in the game, and penalties have really killed the Bucs all game. They are just not playing like a well-disciplined football team whatsoever. The Saints are also doing a fantastic job of tackling the Bucs backs and receivers today.
P.I.: On second-and-14, the Bucs complete a bubble screen on the outside to Williams, and he gets to the Saints 14-yard line. Crucial third down play here. Freeman throws it toward the end zone and it is incomplete. Bucs go for it on fourth down, and they get a passing interference call on Malcolm Jenkins.
More Field Goals: The Saints are making the Bucs own everything they get, and the Saints force another fourth down. This time the Bucs will kick the field goal, and Barth nails his third field goal of the game.
Bucs 6, Saints 24, End of 3rd
Mind-Blowing Stat: Late in the third quarter, the Saints have 148 yards rushing and the Bucs have 48 yards. This is unexpected to say the least. And as I type that, Blount breaks loose for a nice gain.
Bucs get a fourth-and-one for the Bucs at the Saints 33-yard line, and the Bucs commit a five-yard penalty. That is a killer. Now, they'll have to pass on this fourth down conversion. They do, and Williams makes the catch for a first down to take us into the fourth quarter.
Can the Bucs battle back in the fourth?
Bucs 6, Saints 24, 3Q, 3:11
Saints go marching: Brees and the Saints are driving, and much to Saints' fans delight, the yards are coming from a balanced attack. This has been the theme of this football game--the surprising rushing attack from the Saints without Mark Ingram.
Saints continue to drive after a swing pass to Sproles from Brees. I would like to note that it is simply unfair for any linebacker to have to cover Sproles one-on-one. It simply can't be done.
Ivory gaps the defense, and even though the running backs are doing a great job, the big guys upfront deserve some credit as well. They are really opening up some nice holes and winning the battle in the trenches.
History: And with that last Sproles reception, the Saints become the first team in NFL history to with a running back and tight end to have 50+ catches thru the first nine games of the season. In case it isn't blatantly obvious, Graham is the tight end who has over 50 catches.
Touchdown: Thomas gets the handoff, goes up the middle, breaks some tackles and finds the end zone for his second rushing touchdown of the year. Saints are running away with this one. Pun intended.
Bucs 6, Saints 17, 3Q, 9:29
Saints get the ball, and they pick up where they left off by pounding away with Thomas and Ivory. A Saints team with balance, is a frightening image for every defensive coordinator in the league not named Greg Williams.
Brees makes costly mistake: Brees throws it out to Sproles and doesn't see Ronde Barber, and it's picked off. Crucial mistake by Brees, and now the Bucs will get the football inside the Saints' 35-yard line.
Man that's tough, and it could be a game-changer. Saints' rush defense hangs tough by limiting Blount to six yards on his first two carries of the second half. On third down, the Saints go offsides after an offensive lineman moved. They call offsides on the Saints, and that is what we call a blown call.
Blount gets testy: The Saints are really facing some adversity early in the second half, and it'll be interesting to see how this defense responds. Saints force a third-and-long, and Blount thrusts Will Smith's neck back with a blow to the helmet after the play. Here's my surprise face. Saints hold strong on third-and-25, and now they'll kick a field goal. Connor Barth nails it and it's now 17-6.
Bucs 3, Saints 17, Halftime
Halftime Stats for the Saints: Brees finished the half completing 17-of-23 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns, Thomas had 41 yards on three carries and Graham had five receptions for 63 yards.
Some interesting stats to note at the half is Drew Brees tied up Brett Favre with 36 straight games with a touchdown pass. Sproles touchdown reception was his third receiving touchdown of the year, and it was his sixth total touchdown of the season.
The most intriguing stat of the first half is the Saints are out-rushing the Bucs 103 yards to 41. Who predicted that? The Saints out-gained the Bucs 288 to 174 in total yards, and it was quite an impressive performance by both the offense and the defense.
Stay tuned for more live analysis and updates as we get ready for the second half.
Bucs 3, Saints 17, End of 1st Half
Two Minute Drill: Saints start out the two-minute drive with a long pass play to Jimmy Graham. Brees follows it up with a nice first down play to Colston, and the Saints are already at midfield. Boy, that was quick.
Brees then hits Graham for another nice gain, and the Saints are in field goal position. Thank the good Lord the Saints called a timeout, because I was having trouble keeping up with them on the keyboard. Brees hits Graham, and Graham drops a wide open pass. I'm making a mental note of that visual, because that's an extremely rare drop.
Saints go from one playmaker to another, as Sproles burns the Bucs' D with another screen play. The weapons this team has is ridiculous, and that's why I think a lot of Saints' fans have been a bit frustrated this year. It's because this team has these many weapons, and Saints' fans know what kind of team they can be.
Back to the action, Brees hits Colston near the goal line and he almost gets in but is stopped, and the Saints have to clock it and go for the field goal. Kasay nails it, and the Saints go up by two touchdowns at the half.
Bucs 3, Saints 14, 1:39
Two minute Warning scuffle: After a long pass play, the Bucs run the ball and we hit the two-minute warning mark. As Fox goes to break, the two teams break out into a shoving match. Emotions are really running high in this one, and both teams know how important this game is.
The Bucs bring in Josh Johnson at quarterback to run a quarterback sweep on third down, and the Saints stuff it. The Bucs get on the scoreboard with a field goal, and the Saints will get the ball back with 1:39 to play.
Bucs 0, Saints 14, 2:34
Saints force three-and-out but..: The Saints had a great defensive series as they had great coverage and were able to get pressure on Freeman. The Saints force a three-and-out, but the Saints were called for a delay of game on fourth down. Now, the Bucs get a fresh set of downs. The Saints just wrapped that gift themselves. What a terrible penalty.
Boy, Jonathan Casillas is really having himself a good football game. He had Blount covered like a blanket, and because of a penalty, the Bucs now have to deal with a second-and-15.
Saints force another three-and-out after more solid coverage and great tackling.
Saints' ball: On third down, Brees does it again. He manipulates the pocket by buying time and moving around until he finally finds Lance Moore for a first down. Seriously, when the Saints are playing like this, they can beat any team in the league.
Marques Colston makes a brilliant catch on third down, but he comes a yard short and the Saints will punt. Thomas Morstead nails a beautiful punt, but the Saints didn't have great coverage. Bucs take over near their 30-yard line with over two minutes to play in the half.
Bucs 0, Saints 14, 8:34
Penalties are a killer: The penalties kill the Bucs on this drive, and now they have to convert a third-and-17. The Bucs nearly convert with a screen, and Freeman is jawing with a Saints' player before leaving the field.
They show a replay and Freeman instigates the verbal warfare between him and Turk McBride. I actually liked seeing that from Freeman. It showed he has some swag, and he isn't intimidated by the defense.
Rushing Attack: The Saints pick up a first down on the ground with Ivory, and the Saints are showing today that they are more than capable of running the football. And as I type that, Thomas takes a carry 33 yards! If the Saints can find success rushing the football, then defenses around the league are in trouble.
Just as you imagined, the Saints hit the ol' play-action after setting it up all drive and hit Jimmy Graham for a first down. When this offense is clicking, they are nearly impossible to stop.
Touchdown Saints!: Saints set up a screen to Sproles and into the end zone he goes. This offense is HOT right now.
Bucs 0, Saints 7, End of the 1st
Blount gets another carry, and the Saints stop him at the line. This is so refreshing to see. Saints force a third-and-long and the Bucs convert with a long pass play to Preston Parker. Bucs are starting to open up the passing game now.
This is shaping up to be another Bucs/Saints classic as the clock strikes zero, and the first quarter ends.
Bucs 0, Saints 7, 1Q, 2:27
LeGarrette Blount doing what he does: On Blount's second carry of the game, he picks up a nice gain and hurdles a Saint, and follows that up with an eight-yard gain. Saints have to stop this early, or this will be a long game.
Right now the Bucs' rushing game is going through the Saints' defense like a knife going through warm butter. Remember, the Saints don't have Vilma in the lineup today, so someone is going to have to step up for the Saints at linebacker and stop Blount.
Big Stop!: It's fourth-and-one and the Bucs go for it, and the Saints stop Blount! Jonathan Casillas makes a big play for the Saints as they got great penetration upfront. That was just what the doctor ordered for Saints' fans, because I was starting to doubt the Saints' rush defense.
Sproles = Electrifying: Darren Sproles breaks loose, and gets a 35-yard gain for the longest rushing gain by the Saints all year. Sproles may be the most exciting player to watch in all of football. The Saints follow up with a pass play to Sproles on the outside and pick up 16 more yards. Saints call a screen play to the best screen tailback in the league in Pierre Thomas, and Drew Brees follows it up with a beautiful fade to Lance Moore. That. Was. Gorgeous.
Bucs 0, Saints 0, 1Q, 9:22
Porter gives the thumbs up, and we're back to football. Saints force a three-and-out, and Darren Sproles gets a decent return.
Saints first possession:
Chris Ivory gets the first carry and gets some tough-earned yards, and Pierre Thomas follows that run with a hard-nosed run himself. I just love watching these running backs with the football.
Saints are really trying to establish the run early, and I'm very pleased to see this. They have to get some balance to take some pressure off of Drew Brees.
Brees overthrows Henderson?!:
Brees looks for Devery Henderson deep, and Brees OVERTHROWS HIM! As accurate as Brees is at throwing the long ball, that was a complete shocker, and Henderson had the secondary burnt to a crisp. Wow, huge opportunity missed there for the Saints.
Brees comes back and hits Marques Colston for a big third down conversion, and now the Saints are in field goal position. Brees is the best in the league on third down, and he proved it once again there.
Kasay misses FG:
Bucs defense stops a Darren Sproles sweep on third down, and the Saints have to settle for a John Kasay field goal. It's up, and it hits the upright. So after all of that, the Saints get no points.
Bucs 0, Saints 0, 1Q, 14:20
Bucs first possession:
Bucs win the toss and receive, and the Saints have yet to win a coin toss all season. Tracy Porter lays the wood on Mike Williams on second down and both players are down. Williams ran a slant route and Porter took the legs out from under him.
Hope both players are alright, and both teams are showing from the get-go that this is going to be a physical matchup. As we come back from break Williams was able to walk off under his own power, but Porter is still down and now they're getting the cart. Man, you hate to see this. Not even a minute into the game.
More breaks, and Porter is still down.
We're minutes away from kickoff, and here are a few things to keep in mind when these two teams take the field.
The Saints will be playing without Jonathan Vilma on defense and Mark Ingram on offense, while the Bucs get LeGarrette Blount back at the tailback position. Also, Zack Streif will be starting at tackle for the Saints in this game as well.
It's a huge matchup with large NFC South implications, and the Saints and Bucs always make for an exciting clash. Check back here for kickoff for live updates and analysis.
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