Saints Best Bucs, 35-28
Marques Colston #12 of the New Orleans Saints dives for a touchdown during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Tampa, Florida
The New Orleans Saints won their second-consecutive game, defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 35-28, on Sunday, in Tampa, Florida, in an NFC South Division match-up.
The first half was a shootout, with 49 combined points.
Tampa Bay jumped out to a 14-0 lead, with two first quarter touchdowns, one on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Josh Freeman to Tiquan Underwood at the 12:27 mark, and another on a 36-yard run by Doug Martin at the 6:05 mark.
New Orleans scored their first points at the 1:55 mark of the first quarter, on a 17-yard pass from Drew Brees to Marques Colston, extending Brees' NFL record mark of consecutive game with a touchdown pass to 49, to cut the Buccaneers lead to 14-7.
The Buccaneers extended that lead to 21-7 at the 13:36 mark of the second period, when Freeman connected with Vincent Jackson on a 17-yard scoring strike.
The rest of the half was all New Orleans however, as the Saints scored 21 unanswered points on three Brees touchdown passes.
The first was a 9-yard toss to Darren Sproles at the 9:34 mark, with the second one coming at the 4:47 mark on a 48-yard bomb to Joseph Morgan. The final one came right before the end of the half, at the :21 mark, as David Thomas caught a 20-yard pass, giving the Saints a 28-21 halftime advantage.
New Orleans out-gained Tampa Bay in total yardage in the first half, 347-202, with Brees completing 20-of-25 first half passes, for 313 yards and four touchdowns.
In the third quarter, the Buccaneers had scoring opportunities on their first two possessions, but came up empty.
On their first possession of the half half, Tampa Bay drove to the New Orleans 25-yard line, but Connor missed a 42-yard field goal.
The Bucs had another opportunity on their second possession of the quarter, after a 95-yard pass from Freeman to Jackson gave them a first-and-goal situation at the New Orleans 4-yard line. The Saints defense came up big, however, and Tampa Bay came away empty-handed, after turning the ball over-on-downs.
On the very next possession, the Saints scored the first points of the second half, as Pierre Thomas capped off a 12-play, 95-yard drive, that took 5:01 off the clock, with a 5-yard touchdown run, extending the lead to 35-21.
The Buccaneers cut the lead to seven points, at the 4:16 mark, when Freeman hit Dallas Clark, with a 3-yard scoring strike, making the score 35-28.
Tampa Bay got the ball back, with under 2:00 to play, with a chance to tie the game. The Bucs were able to move the ball to the New Orleans 9-yard line, where on the last play of the game Freeman hit Mike Williams with what momentarily looked like a game-tying touchdown, but Williams was flagged for stepping out-of-bounds, and then coming back in the match the catch, so the touchdown was nullified, and the Saints survived with the seven-point win, in dramatic fashion.
Tampa Bay out-gained New Orleans, in terms of total yards, 513-458.
Brees led the Saints, offensively, completing 27-of-37 passes, for 377 yards, and four touchdowns, while Freeman was 24-of-42, for 420 yards, with three touchdowns, for the Buccaneers.
With the victory, the Saints improved to 2-4 on the season, while the Bucs fell to 2-4.
New Orleans returns to action on Sunday, October 28, as they travel to Denver, Colorado, to take on the Denver Broncos.
View the game box score.