Beating up Brees
For the second straight week, the Bucs had a strong pass rush, including utilizing their linebackers in blitzes. They sacked QB Drew Brees four times, and hit him often, giving them nine sacks in two weeks. LB Lavonte David had 1½ sacks, and DT Gerald McCoy added one. "
We got some good licks on him," S Dashon Goldson said. "We got some sacks, some rushed throws. That's what we've got to do week in and week out. That's what it's going to take."
A stout defense kept the Bucs in the game, and never more so than at the end of the first half, when the Bucs stopped the Saints four times inside the 2-yard line.
New Orleans looked as if it had taken a 17-7 lead on a touchdown pass to TE Jimmy Graham, but replay showed he was down at the 1-yard line. From there, the Bucs stepped up, forcing a Drew Brees incompletion, then S Dashon Goldson and LB Mason Foster dropped RB Mark Ingram for a 1-yard loss. From the 2, New Orleans ran again, with DBs Darrelle Revis and Ahmad Black stopping Pierre Thomas for no gain.
The Saints lined up for a fourth and goal at the 2, but after a timeout, they came back out for a short field goal. The kick was good, but the Bucs' Leonard Johnson was offside, moving the ball back to the 1-yard line. The Saints decided not to take the field goal (and what would have been a 13-7 lead) and run the ball on fourth down, but Ingram was stopped for no gain, with LBs Lavonte David and Foster stopping him just short of the end zone.
The replay official reviewed the spot of the ball, but the call was upheld on review. "That was just good defense," Goldson said. "It solidified who we are and what we can do in this league. We played sound fundamentals, everybody playing their responsibility, everybody swarming to the ball."
The stop kept the Bucs within a field goal at halftime, and it was the high mark of a red-zone effort that saw the Saints held to no touchdowns and three field goals in four trips inside the Tampa Bay 20.