Game Ball: DE Jacquies Smith dropped QB Drew Brees for a big sack early in the game's final drive, pushing the Saints back just far enough that they couldn't get to the end zone before time expired. That was Smith's third sack of the game; in the first half he twice hit Brees as he threw, resulting in wild fumbles that the Saints recovered. Even though those first two sacks didn't end in turnovers, they were instrumental in holding Brees and the Saints to just 118 yards and seven points in the first half.
Play of the Game: After the Saints took the lead late in the first half on a Mark Ingram touchdown run, Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers answered with a perfect two-minute drill, ending in Vincent Jackson's 15-yard touchdown catch at the back of the end zone. The drive might have ended outside of scoring territory if not for another Winston-Jackson hookup. Facing a third-and-16 at the Bucs' 31, Winston threw a post down the middle to his veteran receiver, a play that gained 17 yards. That drive kept the Saints from taking the momentum into halftime and put the Buccaneers up for good.
Turning Point: That two-minute drill surely could qualify, but the game still had too many twists and turns in the final quarter to call that the moment when the Buccaneers took control. The biggest play that helped Tampa Bay stop what looked like another classic Drew Brees comeback was Chris Conte forcing a fumble by Ingram with three minutes left. DT Henry Melton recovered the ball just before it went out of bounds and the Bucs turned that into a field goal that restored their lead to seven points and also allowed the Bucs to run a valuable minute off the clock and burn the Saints' timeouts.
WATCH: BUCS VS. SAINTS HIGHLIGHTS
It Was Over When: Drew Brees, being chased all over the field by the Bucs' pass-rushers, heaved up a desperation pass and it sailed out of the back of the end zone. That was the last play of the game, and it truly was the only moment when the Buccaneers could breathe a sigh of relief and know it was over.
Photos from the Buccaneers' game against the Saints in New Orleans.