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League-worst Saints defense stifling Buccaneers early in Tampa

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints are leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-0 early in the game.

The typically awful Saints defense has been able to keep the Bucs offense to two three-and-outs and one five-and-out so far, which is surprising given the Bucs' success marching down the field in recent weeks. They have a total of 31 net yards, compared to the Saints' 77.

So far, Mark Ingram's absence isn't really hurting the Saints offense as it went straight down the field against the Bucs despite a holding penalty. The Bucs are struggling to get pressure, and Kwon Alexander's absence seems to be hurting the discipline down the middle of the field. Drew Brees has completed nine of nine passes so far, for 67 yards and a touchdown.

But the Bucs finally got to Drew Brees with a sack to end the first quarter, and are still down just seven points. Plenty of time to get back in this game.

Here's your third quarter open thread