WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA BAY’S 35-28 LOSS AGAINST NEW ORLEANS?
After leading by 14 points in the second quarter half and then trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay's rally fell short on the game's last play as Mike Williams' 9-yard touchdown catch on a pass from Josh Freeman was overturned as officials determined he was the first receiver to touch the ball after going out of bounds.
"I was very excited that we scored," Bucs head coach Greg Schiano said. "That quickly left my mind when I saw the official with his hat off. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out."
“When Mike caught it he was in bounds, so you don’t see anything up to that,” Freeman said. “Football is a game of inches and that’s the way the game goes sometimes. You never know which play is going to be the play to go your way or not go your way.”
However, the officials might have missed an illegal contact penalty on the Saints cornerback as Williams was pushed out of the back of the end zone, which was clearly beyond the five yards allowed for defensive backs to make contact with receivers. The question is whether Freeman was still in the pocket at the time he was pushed out or if he had scrambled outside of the pocket because there are no illegal contact penalties called in that situation.
That would have been Freeman's fourth touchdown pass and would have tied the score at 35-35 following a successful field goal attempt by Connor Barth, who missed a 42-yard field goal in the third quarter. Freeman completed 24-of-42 passes for a career-high 420 yards with three touchdowns, but it wasn't enough to overcome Drew Brees' production in the 35-28 loss. Brees completed 27-of-37 passes for 377 yards with four touchdowns and one interception and shredded Tampa Bay's porous defense.
"Some coverage mistakes, some pass rush things," Schiano said. "We weren't as precise as we needed to be. Hats off to New Orleans. Our quarterback had tremendous output and production, but missed opportunities [cost us]. Until we get it changed, close but no cigar.
"We did some really good things, but we made the most mistakes on defense than in any other game. My hats are off to New Orleans. They found a way to win."
Bucs wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who struggled with a calf injury during the week, had seven catches for 216 yards and a touchdown, but fell one yard short of scoring a touchdown after his 95-yard reception in the third quarter. That would prove costly as three straight runs by LeGarrette Blount failed to score a TD from the New Orleans 1 and the Bucs got no points from that possession.
“We weren’t able to get in,” Freeman said. “If you look at our goal line performance up to this point, they did something a little different with their front in terms of shifting. We didn’t get it done.”
Jackson caught a pass in the back of the end zone on Tampa Bay’s final third down possession of the game, but he came down with his heels out of bounds, missing a game-tying touchdown by mere inches.
Kicker Connor Barth also missed a 42-yard field goal in the third quarter, which hurts Tampa Bay’s efforts.
The Buccaneers won the toss and elected to defer to the second half. That put Tampa Bay’s defense on the field first against Brees, who threw an interception when his pass was deflected by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and picked off by free safety Ronde Barber, who returned the ball 30 yards to the Saints’ 13. Freeman hit Tiquan Underwood for a 13-yard touchdown on the Bucs’ first offensive possession. Underwood finished with two catches for 35 yards.
Freeman also hit tight end Dallas Clark, who finished with five catches for 51 yards, for a 3-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to pull within one score.
Bucs rookie running back Doug Martin had a strong game with 85 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries (5.3 avg.), in addition to catching three passes for 37 yards.
Brees rebounded from his early interception to complete 20-of-25 passes for 313 yards and throw four touchdowns in the first half. That put New Orleans up 28-21 at halftime.
“Drew is truly an elite offense and he manages his offense to where it can’t be stopped,” Freeman said.
Tight end David Thomas filled in for injured Pro Bowler Jimmy Graham and had two catches for 27 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown. Lance Moore caught nine passes for 121 yards for the Saints, while Marques Colston hauled in seven catches for 73 yards and a score, and Josh Morgan had a 48-yard touchdown catch.
To say that the Bucs missed suspended cover cornerback Aqib Talib on Sunday would be an understatement.HOW DID THE TEAMS SCORE? – BUCS vs. SAINTS SCORING SERIES
First Quarter – Bucs 7, Saints 0
After Ronde Barber’s 30-yard interception return to the New Orleans 13, Josh Freeman hit Tiquan Underwood on a slant for a 13-yard touchdown to give Tampa Bay a 7-0 lead on the Bucs’ first offensive play.First Quarter – Bucs 14, Saints 0
The Bucs capped off a 10-play, 76-yard scoring drive with a 36-yard touchdown run by Doug Martin. Freeman almost threw an interception twice on the drive, but managed to run for 13 yards on a scramble. Martin had two carries for 44 yards on the drive. First Quarter – Bucs 14, Saints 7
New Orleans got on the scoreboard thanks to Drew Brees, who was 5-of-5 for 80 yards on the drive. Brees hit Colston for a gain of 15 yards to start the drive before hitting him for a 17-yard touchdown to cut into Tampa Bay’s lead. The big play on the drive was a 40-yard pass to Devery Henderson that got the Saints into the red zone.Second Quarter – Bucs 21, Saints 7
Freeman started off the drive with a 16-yard pass to Vincent Jackson and finished it with a 17-yard scoring strike to Jackson to give the Bucs a commanding 21-7 lead. Martin ripped off a 9-yard run and Luke Stocker had a 33-yard catch to put the Bucs in scoring position.Second Quarter – Bucs 21, Saints 14
Brees found Lance Moore on third-and-10 for a 13-yard gain down to the New Orleans 33. Then he hit Henderson for a gain of 30 yards down to the Tampa Bay 36. Brees then had a 17-yard strike to Colston before finding running back Darren Sproles open for a 9-yard touchdown to trim the Bucs’ lead to 21-14.Second Quarter – Bucs 21, Saints 21
Brees remained red hot, completing 3-of-3 passes for 77 yards on the next Saints scoring drive. Josh Morgan hauled in a 48-yard touchdown after Eric Wright and Mark Barron missed tackles prior to the end zone.Second Quarter – Saints 28, Bucs 21
New Orleans drove 72 yards in nine plays to take a 28-21 halftime lead in less than a minute and a half. Brees was 6-of-8 for 75 yards, throwing a 20-yard touchdown to tight end David Thomas with 15 seconds left to give the Saints their first lead of the day.Fourth Quarter – Saints 35, Bucs 21
The Saints added to their lead in the fourth quarter, marching 95 yards for a touchdown drive that was capped off by a 5-yard run by Pierre Thomas. The big play on the drive was an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Bucs defense during New Orleans’ 51-yard field goal attempt. That cost the Bucs 15 yards and gave the Saints a first down at the Tampa Bay 18. Brees hit Moore for a 35-yard strike to get the Saints into Bucs territory.
Fourth Quarter – Saints 35, Bucs 28
Freeman drove the Bucs 81 yards for another score to pull within a touchdown of the Saints in the fourth quarter. The drive took 6:18 and covered 14 plays, and finished with a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Clark, who also had a 15-yard gain. The Bucs benefited from two illegal contact penalties, including one on third-and-25, and a defensive facemask penalty.WHAT WAS NOTABLE ABOUT SUNDAY’S GAME FOR THE BUCS?
Free safety Ronde Barber picked off quarterback Drew Brees and now leads the team with three INTs on the season. … Barber started the 222nd game of his career, surpassing linebacker Derrick Brooks for the most starts in team history. He has 205 consecutive starts, which is the most among current players. … Running back Doug Martin scored his first NFL touchdown at Raymond James Stadium, and the second of his NFL career on a personal-best 36-yard jaunt in the first quarter. … Tight end Luke Stocker had a career-long 33-yard catch. … The 95-yard hook-up between Josh Freeman and Vincent Jackson in the third quarter was the longest play in either player’s career. … Freeman’s 420 yards passing is a career high, as is Jackson’s 216 yards receiving, which also sets a Buccaneers team record for the most receiving yards in a single game, breaking Mark Carrier’s mark of 212 yards at New Orleans on December 6, 1987. … Wide receiver Tiquan Underwood caught his first NFL touchdown pass on Sunday. … Tight end Dallas Clark scored his first touchdown as a Buccaneer on Sunday. … Tampa Bay finished with 513 yards of total offense, which is the second-most in team history (573 at Minnesota on Nov. 16, 1980).WHO WAS THE PEWTERREPORT.COM BUCS MVP?
No one will confuse Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman with Saints QB Drew Brees, but for the second straight game, Tampa Bay’s signal caller has thrown for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. Freeman also threw a career-long 95-yard pass to Vincent Jackson down to the New Orleans 1-yard line.
Freeman finished the game completing 24-of-42 passes for 420 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. For his efforts Freeman is named the PewterReport.com Bucs MVP.WHICH BUCCANEERS WERE INACTIVE?
Bucs' inactives against the Chiefs were: WR Chris Owusu, RB Michael Smith, C/G Cody Wallace, S Keith Tandy, TE Danny Noble, LB Jacob Cutrera and LB Najee Goode.
Saints’ inactives against the Bucs were: TE Jimmy Graham, RB Chris Ivory, CB Elbert Mack, LB David Hawthorne, DT Tyrunn Walker, OT Bryce Harris and DE Turk McBride.WHICH BUCS GOT HURT?
Jeremy Zuttah injured his right knee with 13:05 left in the fourth quarter after getting rolled up on by Doug Martin. He was briefly replaced by Ted Larsen, but returned to the game on the next series.WHAT WILL UPSET GREG SCHIANO WHEN HE WATCHES THE FILM?
• The Buccaneers decided to rush three defensive linemen at times on third-and-long passing situations against Drew Brees and he made them pay for it over and over again.
• Poor adjustments by defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan for not bringing enough pressure on Brees on obvious passing downs.
• After making 25 straight field goals, Connor Barth is 1-of-3, including a big 42-yard miss in the third quarter against New Orleans.
• Wide receiver Vincent Jackson not scoring after a 95-yard catch-and-run and getting tackled at the New Orleans 1-yard line. That was the deciding play of the game as Tampa Bay failed to score a touchdown on four tries, trailing 28-21.
• Josh Freeman not decisively running for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal at the New Orleans 1 and getting tackled for a loss by defensive end Cameron Jordan.
• A 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Bucs defense with 14:54 took the Saints from trying a 51-yard field goal to giving New Orleans a first down. The Saints went on to score a touchdown to go up by 14 points.
• E.J. Biggers dropped an interception near midfield with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter on third down.
• Two illegal hands to the face penalties on right tackle Demar Dotson that cost the Buccaneers a total of 20 yards.
• A delay of game by Freeman cost Tampa Bay five yards and set up a third-and-25 situation in the fourth quarter.WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR THE BUCS?
Tampa Bay (2-4) travels to Minnesota to play the Vikings (5-2) on Thursday, October 26 at 8:20 p.m. The game will be televised on NFL Network.
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