WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA BAY’S 41-0 LOSS AT NEW ORLEANS?
They call New Orleans the “Big Easy.” On Sunday against Tampa Bay, Drew Brees played big and made it look easy as the Saints cruised to a 24-0 halftime lead en route to a 41-0 victory as New Orleans thwarted two first half drives by picking off Josh Freeman twice in the red zone. In perhaps his worst game of the season, the slumping Freeman had a total of four interceptions in the red zone against New Orleans, and that played a huge role in the Bucs’ fourth straight loss.
It was clear that Freeman and his receivers were not on the same page on several of those interceptions.
“Chalk it up to miscommunication,” Freeman said. “There is a fine line on so many plays. We didn’t click. … Everyone has to know their assignment, execute and do your job.”
How bad was this defeat? After being in every game this season with the biggest margin of defeat, the Bucs got blown out in a contest that was reminiscent of one of the losses from the disastrous 4-12 season of a year ago. Tampa Bay, which falls to 6-8 on the season, was shut out by the worst-ranked defense in the NFL.
“This is a different animal,” Bucs head coach Greg Schiano said. “Today is a different animal. It will be addressed and in the next six days we’ll do everything we can to get back on track.
“This is unacceptable. I know that. This is my name and the organization’s name. We have to get it remedied.”
Brees completed for 19-of-29 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns in the first half to get the Saints off to a hot start. Brees finished the game going 26-of-39 for 307 with four scores before being pulled in the fourth quarter with the Saints up 34-0.
By comparison, Freeman was awful, completing only 26-of-47 passes (55.3 percent) for 279 yards with no touchdowns and four picks. He was pulled in favor of Dan Orlovsky with 4:47 left in the fourth quarter. Orlovsky completed 4-of-7 passes for 51 yards in relief duty.
After getting shut out in the first half wide receiver Vincent finished with six catches for 81 yards to lead Tampa Bay, while flanker Mike Williams had four catches for 63 yards. Tight end Dallas Clark had a team-high eight catches, but only totaled 46 yards.
Neither the Bucs offense nor the defense showed up on Sunday as the Saints rolled over their NFC South division rival with ease. As usual, Tampa Bay’s secondary was overmatched and overwhelmed as the veteran Saints receivers and tight ends had their way with them. Tight end Jimmy Graham had five catches for 69 yards to lead the Saints, while wide receiver Marques Colston had three catches for 60 yards. Lance Moore had four catches for 42 yards and a touchdown and Joseph Morgan had two catches for 61 yards and a TD.
Saints running back Mark Ingram had success against the Bucs’ number one-ranked rushing defense, ripping Tampa Bay for 90 yards on 14 carries. New Orleans running back Darren Sproles had a great all-purpose game with 23 yards on four carries, in addition to a 37-yard punt return and five catches for 21 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown that put New Orleans up 24-0 at halftime.
A week after rushing for 128 yards and a touchdown against Philadelphia, Tampa Bay rookie running back Doug Martin was stymied, running for just 16 yards on nine carries with a long of 11. Martin also contributed 19 yards on three catches. It was his worst day production-wise in the NFL.
“When you quickly fall behind I don’t think the running game is a factor,” Schiano said.
With Sunday’s outcome being the Bucs’ fourth straight loss and coming in such disastrous fashion, Schiano was asked if he feels his team is really regressing.
“We certainly didn’t play well,” Schiano said. “The result would say we are, I don’t feel like we are.
“We need to make sure the arrow is going up next week and it’s going to be quite a challenge.”
The Bucs return home to Raymond James Stadium next Sunday to play the Rams, who lost to Minnesota, 36-22, on Sunday to fall to 6-7-1 on the year.HOW DID THE TEAMS SCORE? – BUCS vs. SAINTS SCORING SERIES
First Quarter – Saints 7, Buccaneers 0
New Orleans easily marched 74 yards down the field for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead. Drew Brees was 5-of-5 for 67 yards, including a 9-yard TD strike to tight end David Thomas. Thomas had two catches for 21 yards, including the TD catch. Darren Sproles had a 15-yard run for a first down on the drive.Second Quarter – Saints 10, Buccaneers 0
Brees continued to carve up the Bucs secondary, hitting Jimmy Graham for 15 yards on third down. He also hit Marques Coltson for a gain of 26 and Lance Moore for a gain of 12 on back-to-back plays. Brees was 6-of-7 for 61 yards on the drive as the Saints went up 10-0 against the Bucs early in the second quarter on a 25-yard FG by Garrett Hartley.Second Quarter – Saints 17, Buccaneers 0
Rafael Bush picked off Josh Freeman at the New Orleans 9 and returned it 40 yards to the Saints 49-yard line to start the drive. On second-and-18, cornerback Anthony Gaitor was flagged for defensive holding, which gave the Saints a first down. On third-and-11, Brees hit Colston for 21 yards down to the 34. On second-and-goal from the Tampa Bay 2, Brees hit Sporles for a touchdown to put the Saints up 17-0.Second Quarter – Saints 24, Buccaneers 0
A 37-yard punt return by Sproles gave the Saints a first down at the Tampa Bay 38 to start the drive. On third-and-3, Brees hit Graham for a 24-yard gain down to the Tampa Bay 7. Two plays later, Brees hit Moore in front of free safety Ahmad Black with nine seconds left before halftime to put the Saints up 24-0. Third Quarter – Saints 31, Buccaneers 0
After Freeman threw his third interception of the game at the New Orleans 8, the Saints marched 92 yards to go up 31-0 after Brees hit Joseph Morgan with a 34-yard touchdown strike over cornerback E.J. Biggers. Running back Mark Ingram started the drive with a 31-yard run. Fourth Quarter – Saints 34, Buccaneers 0
Ingram ripped off a 26-yard run down to the Saints 47-yard line to jump the drive. Brees then hit Morgan with a 27-yard pass play down to the Tampa Bay 20. However, the drive stalled and Garrett Hartley was called on to make a 36-yard field goal to make the score 34-0 in the Saints’ favor.Fourth Quarter – Saints 41, Buccaneers 0
After Freeman fumbled the ball after being sacked by defensive end Cameron Jordan, who recovered at the Tampa Bay 43, the Saints got a big first down on third-and-18 when safety Mark Barron was flagged for a 40-yard pass interference call. That gave New Orleans a first down at the Tampa Bay 11. On the next play, Ingram rambled 11 yards for a touchdown to push the Saints’ lead to 41-0.WHAT WAS NOTABLE ABOUT SUNDAY’S GAME FOR THE BUCS?
Buccaneers defensive end Da’Quan Bowers had a 9-yard sack in the second quarter. It was his third sack of the year. … Rookie wide receiver Chris Owusu made his first NFL catch on Sunday, a 24-yard gain. … Dan Orlovsky completed 4-of-7 passes for 51 yards in his first action of the year as a Buccaneer. … With two wins over Tampa Bay, the Saints swept the Bucs this season. WHO WAS THE PEWTERREPORT.COM BUCS MVP?
In Tampa Bay’s 41-0 loss at New Orleans there was not a player worthy of being named the PewterReport.com Bucs MVP.WHICH BUCCANEERS WERE INACTIVE?
Bucs' inactives against the Saints were: Bucs' inactives: CB LeQuan Lewis, RB Michael Smith, LB Najee Goode, G Roger Allen, WR David Douglas, DT Corvey Irvin and DT Matthew Masifilo.
Saints’ inactives against the Bucs were: CB Corey White, RB Chris Ivory, LB Scott Shanle, OT Zach Strief, DT Tyrunn Walker, TE Michael Higgins and DE Turk McBride.WHICH BUCS GOT HURT?
Tampa Bay did not have any reported injuries.WHAT WILL UPSET GREG SCHIANO WHEN HE WATCHES THE FILM?
• After the Bucs defense up a way-too-easy opening touchdown drive, Tampa Bay’s offense went three-and-out on its first series.
• Josh Freeman’s poor pass to tight end Dallas Clark was intercepted at the Saints 19-yard line by cornerback Jabari Greer in the first quarter.
• Freeman’s third interception of the day came on an ill-advised jump-ball pass to Dallas Clark. Clark is not a jump-ball target.
• Saints running back Mark Ingram had a 31-yard run from the New Orleans 8-yard line to start the third quarter. That run capped off a 92-yard touchdown drive for New Orleans as it went up 31-0.WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR THE BUCS?
Tampa Bay (6-8) travels back to St. Louis to play the Rams (6-7-1) on Sunday, December 23 at 1:00 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox if it sells out or reaches the 85 percent tickets sold mark.
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