An offensive touchdown that would tie the game on the final play was negated by a legitimate illegal touching penalty saved the Saints and allowed them to leave Tampa with a fortunate 35-28 win. The game felt a little bit like the Chiefs game late, where the Saints let a big lead evaporate and their defense was gashed for yardage at will. The Saints survived Buccaneer records for passing yards (Freeman threw for 420), longest play in team history (95 yard pass from Freeman to Vincent Jackson) and receiving yards (Jackson put up 216 yards!) and another largely woeful defensive output. Brees, from early in the second quarter through the third got in one of those zones where he was absolutely unstoppable, and ultimately that was the difference. Below are my bullets on the game.
- As bad as the defense was, they gave up 98 yards rushing on 25 attempts. That's just 3.9 yards a carry. Not amazing, but by this defense's standards that's pretty solid. Take away that one 36 yard touchdown run by Doug Martin where Malcolm Jenkins blew a tackle near the line of scrimmage and the run defense was even better.
- The pass rush, per usual, was deplorable. Josh Freeman had all the time in the world and it made Patrick Robinson an easy victim repeatedly.
- Lance Moore had a whale of a game showing his standard sick hands. 9 catches for 121 yards.
- Courtney Roby may not show up on the stat sheet, but he was the best blocking receiver.
- Joe Morgan's 48 yard touchdown reception and broken tackle is a definite top 10 play of the season.
- Dave Thomas had a little tribute to Jimmy Graham on his touchdown reception with a finger roll over the goal post. Too funny.
- Ronde Barber picked off the Saints yet again. I hate him so much.
- Jonathan Vilma played sparingly and didn't make a huge impact. He did hit Josh Freeman on a blitz and batted down a pass, almost coming up with an interception.
- Roman Harper had what seemed like an interception to me that was negated. I think he was robbed.
- Malcom Jenkins ran down Vincent Jackson on that 95 yard pass play to tackle him at the 1. The Saints would then stop the Bucs on 4 consecutive plays near the goal line to prevent the Bucs from cashing in with any points. Jenkins was in on two of those tackles as well. That was the play of the game.
- The penalty by the Bucs on the 51 yard field goal attempt was absolutely 100% the right call. If you try to simulate the snap, it's a penalty.
- The defense gave up over 500 total yards, again, so they are still easily on pace to shatter the NFL record for most given up yards in history. Awful.
- Marques Colston tied Dalton Hilliard for second all time in touchdowns scored with 52. He now just trails Deuce McAllister by 3 for best all time Saint.
The Saints are now 2-4 and will look for three straight against the Broncos in Denver next week!