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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Final Score: Saints 28, Buccaneers 14 | Rapid Reaction

The Bucs start strong but can't hold, as the Saints even the season series at one game apiece inside Raymond James Stadium. 


The Saints won the toss and elected to defer, meaning the Buccaneer offense would go straight to work. The Bucs moved quickly down the field behind a 36-yard pass from Winston to wide receiver Mike Evans down the near sideline. It was followed up by a 14-yard run by Winston to get inside the red zone then capped off with an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Cameron Brate for the early score. With that, the Bucs jumped out to an early 7-0 lead with 12:19 left in the first quarter.

New Orleans made it past midfield on their first possession of the game before being relegated back to the 50 by an offensive holding call. With a batted down pass on third-and-15, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul helped force the Saints' punt, preserving the Bucs 7-0 lead.

It was Tampa Bay's turn to stall at midfield on the next drive, getting to their 47-yard line before being forced to punt. The next drive would end quickly for the Saints, as the Bucs defense got a three-and-out behind a huge tackle-for-loss of running back Alvin Kamara by defensive end Carl Nassib, where Nassib tackled Kamara in the Saints' end zone. A delay of game penalty made it third-and-19, which the Saints wouldn't convert.

Wide receiver Adam Humphries almost had a great return on the ensuing punt before the Bucs were called for illegal block in the back. The series ended with a missed 46-yard field goal try when the ball went off the right upright.

The Saints got back inside Buccaneer territory in a hurry and got as far as the 13-yard line before the Bucs' defense was able to stop them. New Orleans was able to tack on the 38-yard field goal to cut the Bucs' lead to 7-3 with 7:06 remaining in the second quarter.

Following back-to-back penalties, the Bucs stalled on their next drive. On the punt, they were called on another penalty to back Bryan Anger up even further. The Saints would start their next drive with decent field position at their own 34.

After a questionable play where it looked like Alvin Kamara fumbled the ball on first down that was then recovered by the Bucs but he was ruled down, Tampa Bay lost the challenge of the play. The very next down, Brees' pass was picked off by Bucs linebacker Adarius Taylor for his first career interception. He returned it 13 yards and the Bucs got another shot at the two-minute warning.

Tampa Bay took the ball down to the one-yard line before Winston connected with tight end Cameron Brate in the back of the end zone on third-and-one at the one-yard line. The Taylor interception turned into seven more points on the board for the Bucs increasing their lead to 14-3, where the score would stay leading into halftime.

The Saints got the ball to start the second half. On second-down, defensive end Carl Nassib came off the edge to strip Brees of the ball while fellow defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul recovered it. The Bucs weren't able to capitalize on their next drive after another missed field goal by Cairo Santos, this one from 40 yards out. They would trade punts with New Orleans as the Saints went three-and-out after a big tackle for loss by defensive end Vinny Curry on third down, forcing the punt.

The Bucs wouldn't be able to get anything done on the next drive, either, after falling victim to another couple holding calls. Bryan Anger got his punt blocked by the Saints' Taysom Hill as New Orleans took over at the Bucs' 30-yard line. They'd capitalize by taking the ball down to the one-yard line before Zach Line would haul in Brees' pass. The Saints then went for two to close the lead Bucs' lead to 14-11 with 4:43 left in the third quarter.

The Bucs again would stall behind two sacks of Winston, going three-and-out and punting the ball away. The Saints got down again to the one-yard line and after the Bucs' defense held on the first three downs, the Saints went for it on fourth-and-one at the goal line. It was Brees who ended up rocketing over top to give the Saints their first lead of the game, 18-14, with 11:46 left in the game.

The Bucs got hit with an illegal double team block on the kickoff, meaning they started their drive from their own nine-yard line. Tampa Bay got hit with a facemask penalty, bringing up third-and-six before getting hit with a false start penalty, backing them up an additional five yards. The Bucs would be unable to convert and forced to punt.

The Saints came through on another drive that was capped off with a 17-yard run by Mark Ingram, putting the Saints up 25-14 halfway through the fourth. The Bucs got the ball back with half a quarter to make something happen. Unfortunately, it wasn't able to happen on that drive as the rain started up again and Winston was sacked on third down. The Bucs punted from deep in their own territory and New Orleans took over again at their own 41-yard line.

From there, New Orleans was able to run the ball more and connect with receiver Michael Thomas to move down the field and run the clock down. They got indie the two-minute warning, inside the red zone before settling for a 36-yard field goal to increase their lead, 28-14, with just 1:12 left in the game.

From there, the Bucs moved down the field, but ran out of time, as Winston threw an interception in the end zone leaving the score 28-14 in favor of the visitors and evening the season series between the two teams at one apiece.

View photos from the Bucs' Week 14 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

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