Bucs-Saints summary, gradebook

Here is the scoring summary, statistics and gradebook from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 27-23 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 2, 2007:

Buccaneers 27, Saints 23

Scoring summary

First quarter

TB: Matt Bryant 27 field goal, 9:54

Drive: 10 plays, 65 yards, 5:06.

Key plays: Luke McCown went 5-for-5 on the drive, but his third down pass to WR Maurice Stovall was a yard short of a first down at the Saints 9.

Tampa Bay 3, New Orleans 0

NO: Terrance Copper 4 pass from Drew Brees (Olindo Mare kick), 2:05

Drive: 5 plays, 57 yards, 3:06.

Key play: Brees connected with Marques Colston on a flea-flicker for a 40-yard gain to the Bucs 4.

New Orleans 7, Tampa Bay 3

Second quarter

TB: Anthony Becht 1 pass from Luke McCown (Bryant kick), 14:20.

Drive: 5 plays, 80 yards, 2:45.

Key play: McCown hit WR Joey Galloway for a 60-yard gain to the Saints 1-yard line to set up the play-action fake and TD pass.

Tampa Bay 10, New Orleans 7

TB: Matt Bryant 31 field goal, 7:52

Drive: 6 plays, 52 yards, 3:21.

Key plays: A Jeremy Trueblood false start took the Bucs out of a 3rd-and-4 situation at the Saints 16.

Tampa Bay 13, New Orleans 7

NO: Devery Henderson 45 pass from Brees (Mare kick), 3:21

Drive: 6 plays, 67 yards, 4:31.

Key play: Bucs S Tanard Jackson appeared to have great coverage on Henderson, but turned away from the play at the last second as Henderson made the catch.

New Orleans 14, Tampa Bay 13

Third quarter

NO: Earnest Graham 25 run (Bryant kick), 9:36

Drive: 6 plays, 55 yards, 3:27.

Key play: Graham found a crease at right tackle and evaded Saints DB Roman Harper, who filed the lane but was unable to wrap up Graham, who had open field after that.

Tampa Bay 20, New Orleans 14

NO: Mike McKenzie 53 interception return (Mare kick), 3:05.

Key play: McCown audibled into a different pass play and threw short to Galloway, who was going long. McKenzie had the easiest interception he's ever had.

New Orleans 21, Tampa Bay 20

Fourth quarter

NO: Safety, Will Smith, 3:44.

Key play: Smith tackled McCown in the end zone as the Bucs QB was attempting to get out of the end zone to avoid the safety.

New Orleans 23, Tampa Bay 20

TB: Jerramy Stevens 4 pass from McCown (Bryant kick), :14.

Drive: 8 plays, 37 yards, 3:16

Key play: The Saints fumbled the game away with a botched reverse play, causing a fumble. Then the Bucs drove the field, including converting a 4th-and-1 instead of kicking a 46-yard game-tying field goal.

Tampa Bay 27, New Orleans 23

Statistics

Rushing

Tampa Bay

Player — No. — Yds. — TD — Lg.

Earnest Graham — 22 — 106 — 1 — 25t

Luke McCown — 2 — 34 — 0 — 26

Michael Clayton — 1 — 20 — 0 — 20

Michael Bennett — 1 — 12 — 0 — 12

Totals — 26 — 172 — 1 — 26

New Orleans

Player — No. — Yds. — TD — Lg.

Reggie Bush — 13 — 64 — 0 — 14

Aaron Stecker — 7 — 16 — 0 — 4

Drew Brees — 1 — 4 — 0 — 4

Totals — 21 — 84 — 0 — 14

Passing

Tampa Bay

Player — Att. — Co. — Yds. — TD — INT

Luke McCown — 37 — 29 — 313 — 2 — 1

Totals — 37 — 29 — 313 — 2 — 1

New Orleans

Player — Att. — Co. — Yds. — TD — INT

Drew Brees — 23 — 17 — 179 — 2 — 0

Totals — 23 — 17 — 179 — 2 — 0

Receiving

Tampa Bay

Player — No. — Yds. — TD — Lg.

Joey Galloway — 7 — 159 — 0 — 60

Earnest Graham — 7 — 37 — 0 — 21

Ike Hilliard — 4 — 29 — 0 — 9

B.J. Askew — 3 — 41 — 0 — 16

Jerramy Stevens — 2 — 8 — 1 — 4t

Michael Pittman — 2 — 6 — 0 — 3

Michael Bennett — 1 — 12 — 0 — 12

Alex Smith — 1 — 11 — 0 — 11

Maurice Stovall — 1 — 9 — 0 — 9

Anthony Becht — 1 — 1 — 1 — 1t

Totals — 29 — 313 — 2 — 60

New Orleans

Player — No. — Yds. — Avg. — TD — Lg.

Aaron Stecker — 4 — 35 — 0 — 12

Reggie Bush — 3 — 13 — 0 — 13

Marques Colston — 2 — 39 — 0 — 40

Lance Moore — 2 — 18 — 0 — 14

Eric Johnson — 2 — 12 — 0 — 7

Devery Henderson — 1 — 45 — 0 — 45t

Mike Karney — 1 — 7 — 0 — 7

Billy Miller — 1 — 6 — 0 — 6

Terrance Copper — 1 — 4 — 0 — 4t

Totals — 17 — 179 — 2 — 45

Missed field goals

TB: Bryant (52, short)

Bucs Gradebook

Quarterback: B. Yes he made two big mistakes. But for the most part Luke McCown looked made for the part of a starting quarterback. He had an ultra-efficient first half and gave the Bucs every bit of what they needed with Jeff Garcia out of the game.

Running backs: A-. Earnest Graham just grinded away at a solid Saints run defense, making a key move on Roman Harper to score that touchdown. He also had a key pass reception and fourth-down conversion on the final drive.

Wide receivers: B+. They were sure-handed and busy. Ten different receivers caught passes and there were few drops. Joey Galloway had a huge day, as did Ike Hilliard underneath. And credit the other TEs (Anthony Becht and Jerramy Stevens) for getting in the action.

Offensive line: B. McCown had solid protection all day and the running game moved the football for more than six yards per carry. The only thing that really hurt were the three penalties — all at key times — that set the offense back.

Defensive line: B. They started slow but eventually brought the pressure and rush the Bucs needed to get to QB Drew Brees. Jovan Haye recovered the Reggie Bush fumble. Gaines Adams and Haye had the sacks. They defended the run well, too.

Linebackers: B. A solid effort. They contained Bush well, didn't allow too many underneath catches when Brees checked down and tackled assuredly most of the day.

Secondary: B-. An average day. S Tanard Jackson made a big misplay on Devery Henderson's TD catch. Phillip Buchanon was burned twice by great ball placement by Brees. They contained well in the second half.

Special teams: B-. The coverage was solid. Josh Bidwell had two fine punts in the second half. Matt Bryant missed a field goal, though it was a 52-yarder. The Bucs didn't give him a chance to tie the game, potentially because of that miss.

Overall grade: B. Credit Jon Gruden with a great offensive game plan. He didn't hold back with McCown under center and the young QB delivered. Gruden was creative, McCown got the ball downfield early and that allowed the Bucs the lanes they needed to run the football in the second half. The defense could have blitzed more, but the Bucs were patient and eventually got the pressure on Brees and took advantage of a horrible play call by the Saints.

Bucs at a glance

Record: 8-4.

Playoff pulse: A three-game divisional lead with four games to play? You do the math. See you in January.

What's coming up

Dec. 9: at Houston. The Texans are better than you think, anchored by QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson.


Bucs Blitz Top Stories