The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost a last-second thriller to the New Orleans Saints as they gave up a two-score lead in the fourth quarter. The Bucs looked like they'd turned a corner and would win this game with some impressive play on offense, but that collapsed at the end of the game. Holding the Saints to overtime was a minor victory, but it wasn't enough.
Pierre Thomas wrecked the Bucs' defense, breaking tackles left and right and racking up 110 yards from scrimmage, along with 2 touchdowns. Mike Glennon and Vincent Jackson put up a valiant fight, but it just wasn't enough. The Bucs can look at themselves for this loss: 15 penalties for 113 yards just won't get it done.
The Bucs defense struggled against Drew Brees and company, as should be obvious from the score, but still got a couple of good stops in the red zone, holding the Saints to field goals three times over the course of the game and producing three interceptions. Of course, giving up four touchdowns (all to running backs) hurts quite a bit, too.
Mike Glennon:19/23 for 249 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and one sacks.
Drew Brees: 35/57 for 371 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Doug Martin: 14 carries for 45 yards.
Khiry Robinson: 21 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown.
Vincent Jackson: 8 catches for 144 yards.
Brandin Cooks: 9 catches for 56 yards.
Pierre Thomas: 8 catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.
The Bucs got off to a good start in the first quarter, forcing a punt on the Saints' initial possession. The defense choked the run and held up well in coverage against the pass, with some real physical tackling standing out especially. Unfortunately, that lasted exactly one series as Brees found a way to attack the Bucs down the middle of the field, where backup Dane Fletcher was exploited on a 36-yard pass to Marques Colston and a 23-yard pass to Jimmy Graham.
Still, the Bucs held the Saints to two field goals on their three offensive drives, despite the Saints getting into the red zone twice, with some excellent coverage by Mark Barron on Graham preventing several catches.
The Bucs' offense was once again hurt repeatedly by drops, this time by both Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Repeated penalties nullified several third-down penalties, further stopping a Bucs offense that wanted to be productive, but couldn't stop hurting itself.
The offense didn't look any better in the second quarter, once again getting in its own way. The running game continued to be a problem, resulting in (again) long third down plays -- which the Bucs then couldn't convert, in part because of their own, preventable mistakes. And once they did get going, Louis Murphy lost a jump ball to Patrick Robinson for an interception - after what certainly looked like some defensive pass interference.
With Mark Barron blanketing Jimmy Graham, the Saints went to their other targets. Like tight end Josh Hill, who got a 37-yard completion down the sideline, and Pierre Thomas, who got the Saints' first touchdown against the Bucs' blitz on a screen pass.
The Bucs then apparently decided enough was enough. A field goal-drive was nearly ruined by a stupid penalty on Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but Murray managed to connect on a 55-yard field goal. And one Johnthan Banks interception later, Glennon was in position to throw the team's first touchdown pass of the game to Louis Murphy. The Bucs entered the locker room down just 13-10, despite being dominated for most of the game.
Mike Glennon: 10/19 for 120 yards, one touchdown, one interception, no sacks.
Drew Brees: 16/25 for 213 yards, one touchdown, one interception, no sacks.
Doug Martin: Seven carries for 11 yards.
Bobby Rainey: two carries for three yards.
Khiry Robinson: nine carries for 20 yards.
Vincent Jackson: five catches for 70 yards.
Josh Hill: two catches for 45 yards.
The Bucs got off to a great start to the second half, scoring a touchdown to take the lead on their first possession. Doug Martin got 32 yards from scrimmage on that drive, mostly as a pass-catcher, and Bobby Rainey capped it off by running the ball into the endzone.
The Saints wanted to get straight back into it -- but instead, Drew Brees threw a pick six to Danny Lansanah under pressure from Michael Johnson and Gerald McCoy. That left the Bucs up 24-13 just four minutes into the third quarter, and they were in great position to take home their second game of the season.
The Saints weren't ready to give up and came right back with a touchdown drive of their own. And Mike Glennon almost gave the game away entirely with a Josh McCown-like interception, which was thankfully dropped by Junior Galette.
Mike Glennon decided to be a badass, and some weird improvisational play with what looked like a risky throw turned into a terrific completion to Vincent Jackson in the endzone. And that set up a Robert Herron touchdown catch. Yes, Robert Herron caught a ball. In the endzone.
Of course, the defense couldn't hold up its end of the bargain. Despite consistent pass pressure, horrible tackling gave the Saints a fairly easy touchdown drive, once again capped off by Pierre Thomas, who is just magic on those perimeter plays running behind some blockers. A failed two-point conversion kept the Saints to a five-point deficit, however -- thank Alterraun Verner for that.
Despite continued offensive ineptitude, Verner saved the day once again at the end of the fourth quarter, intercepting Drew Brees on what looked like a game-winning drive. Ultimately, that didn't matter, as the Bucs defense couldn't hold on in overtime and the Saints drove right down for the touchdown.
Jimmy Graham left the game with a shoulder injury in the first quarter, later returned, but headed to the locker room iduring the second quarter.
Safety Major Wright left the game with an ankle injury during the third quarter, but returned to play later that quarter.
Linebacker/special teamer Jonathan Casillas injured his hamstring and did not return.
Where they go now
The Bucs host the Baltimore Ravens at home next Sunday, before heading into the bye week. At 1-4, they're season is nearly over already.