Tampa Bay was in position to pull off a second straight road upset, carrying an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter at New Orleans before Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees led the Saints to a 37-31 win in overtime. Here is a look at some of the players that contributed to the Buccaneers building that lead through most of the game.
MOST IMPRESSIVE BUCCANEERS AT SAINTS SLB Danny Lansanah
After a couple of lapses in coverage in the first half, Lansanah came up with his second pick-six on the season, intercepting Drew Brees and returning it 33 yards for a touchdown to give Tampa Bay a 24-13 lead in the third quarter. Bucs defensive end Michael Johnson pressured Brees to throw a duck that Lansanah picked off rather easily. Lansanah, who also had a career-high 10 tackles, became just the fourth Bucs linebacker in team history to have two pick-sixes in the same season, joining Mason Foster, Derrick Brooks and Hugh Green.
CB Alterraun Verner
On third-and-7 on New Orleans’ first possession, Verner jumped up and recorded his first pass breakup on a pass intended for Robert Meachem. He finished the game with three pass breakups and a key interception at the end of the game to force overtime. Verner also had a great tackle on New Orleans tight end Ben Watson on the Saints’ two-point conversion pass after their final touchdown in regulation to deny them the score. Verner finished with five tackles.
WLB Lavonte David
Once again, David was everywhere for Tampa Bay, leading the Bucs in tackles with 14 stops. He also had a game-high two tackles for loss. But perhaps David’s biggest play was knocking tight end Jimmy Graham out of the game with a vicious shot to his shoulder in the first quarter. He has 51 tackles and 10 tackles for loss through the first five games of the season to lead Tampa Bay in both categories.
SS Mark Barron
Barron had two pass breakups in the red zone in the first quarter and did a good job of covering tight end Jimmy Graham when matched up on him in man coverage. Barron had great coverage in overtime on Ben Watson, forcing an incompletion. While tight end Jimmy Graham was in the game in the first quarter, Barron, who finished with nine tackles, did a great job of containing him and limiting him to two catches for 36 yards.
QB Mike Glennon
Glennon didn’t get much help from his teammates, who dropped passes and committed penalties, but he was far from perfect and contributed to the Bucs’ demise, throwing an interception at the New Orleans 4-yard line in the first quarter. Glennon did catch fire in the second quarter and threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Louis Murphy. In the fourth quarter, Glennon scrambled to his left and heaved a 34-yard pass to Vincent Jackson down to the New Orleans 10. Two plays later, Glennon hit rookie Robert Herron for a 9-yard touchdown to put the Bucs up 31-20. But he took a safety in the fourth quarter and failed to put any more points on the scoreboard. Glennon finished the game completing 19-of-32 passes for 249 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
WR Vincent Jackson
Jackson was very active in the first half, catching five passes for 70 yards, including a 32-yarder. He did even more damage in the second half, hauling in a beautiful 36-yard catch that gave the Bucs the ball in the Saints red zone. He finished the game with his best outing of 2014, catching eight passes for 144 yards. Jackson entered the game with 13 receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns through the first four games.
K Patrick Murray
Murray nailed the longest field goal of his rookie career, a 55-yarder, in the first half that cut into New Orleans’ 13-point lead. That field goal gives Murray two from at least 50 yards this season and should give Lovie Smith even more confidence to use Murray from long range. Murray has now made his last four field goals, and is connecting on 80 percent of his kicks.
CB Johnthan Banks
Banks stepped in front of running back Travaris Cadet and picked off Drew Brees at the New Orleans 40-yard line. The interception was the first of the year for Banks, and his fourth career pick. Although he did have a costly illegal hands to the face penalty in overtime, Banks had five tackles and a pass breakup while displaying his best pass coverage of the season. His penalty was just one of the 15 infractions for 113 yards.
DT Gerald McCoy
McCoy was held without a sack, but did pressure Drew Brees four times, and was directly involved in two out of the three Bucs’ interceptions. McCoy, who is playing with a broken hand, was credited with four tackles and two tackles for loss, which tied Bucs linebacker Lavonte David’s mark.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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