TAMPA, Fla. (WAFB) - The New Orleans Saints were in Tampa, Fla. to face the Buccaneers in an NFC South matchup of the top two teams in the division and the Black and Gold dominated the whole night.
The Saints crushed the Bucs, 38-3, to improve to 6-2 on the season and jump to first place in the division. Some longtime watchers said it was the best game they’ve ever seen the Saints play. The Bucs are now 6-3 on the season.
Drew Brees was 26-of-32 for 222 yards and four touchdowns. He currently holds the NFL record with 564 career touchdowns. The Saints offense completed passes to 12 different players.
Michael Thomas was the leading receiver for the Saints in his return from injury. He had five catches for 51 yards. Taysom Hill was the leading rusher for the Saints. He finished with seven carries for 54 yards. Alvin Kamara had nine rushes for 40 yards and a touchdown. He also caught five passes for nine yards.
The Saints defense was stifling the entire night. It forced the Bucs into four straight 3-and-outs and had a goal line stand in which it stopped Tampa Bay on four downs from the 1-yard line. Tom Brady was 22-of-38 for 209 yards. He threw three interceptions and no touchdowns. It was the worst loss of Brady’s career. His previous worst loss was to Buffalo, 31-0, in 2003. Brady has thrown seven interceptions this season and the Saints were responsible for five of those. The Saints sacked Brady three times. Tampa Bay rushed the ball just five times all game, which is a new NFL record.
The Bucs received the ball first but the Saints defense forced a three-and-out. The Saints offense got off to a hot start and Brees threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Tre’Quan Smith in the back of the end zone to take a 7-0 lead after a 9-play, 65-yard drive with 9:34 remaining in the first quarter.
Brees later threw a pass to Jared Cook but he fumbled at the 2-yard line and the Bucs recovered. It was the third lost fumble of the season for the Saints and the 15th takeaway for the Bucs. After the Saints defense forced another three-and-out, Brees threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Adam Trautman to make it 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. It was Trautman’s first touchdown of his career.
Brees then threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders to put the Saints up 21-0 with 11:44 remaining in the second quarter. On Tampa Bay’s next drive, David Onyemata intercepted a Brady pass that Marcus Davenport tipped. Kamara later ran for a 1-yard touchdown to put the Saints up 28-0 with 8:45 left in the second quarter.
Wil Lutz made a 36-yard field goal to make it 31-0 just before halftime. With the Bucs driving before the end of the first half, Marcus Williams picked off Brady. It was his second interception of the season. Both have been against Brady. The 31-point halftime margin was the second largest in Saints history. The Saints led the Panthers 35-3 at halftime in Week 17 of last season. It was the first time in Brady’s career that he’s trailed by 30 or more points in the first half.
The Tampa Bay defense forced its second fumble of the game when Shaquil Barrett got to Brees for a strip-sack. The Bucs recovered but the Saints defense stopped the Bucs offense four straight times from the 1-yard line. The Saints eventually had to punt for the first time in the game.
Trey Hendrickson sacked Brady two plays in a row. Three of his 7.5 sacks this season (single-season high) have been against Tampa Bay. Malcolm Jenkins intercepted Brady on fourth down of the drive. It was the Saints' third interception of the night. Sept. 25, 2011 was the last previous time Brady had thrown three interceptions in a regular season game.
The third quarter was scoreless but Brees threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Josh Hill to make it 38-0 with 9:07 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Bucs later made a 48-yard field goal to make it 38-3 with 5:52 left in the game.
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