Saints Won The Turnover Battle
Simeon Rice's second-quarter sack extended the team's streak to 68 consecutive games with at least one sack. That ties the NFL record set by the Dallas Cowboys from 1976 to 1980. The last time the Bucs failed to record a sack was Oct. 3, 1999, against Minnesota.|
Derrick Brooks helped extend another streak with his third-quarter interception. The Bucs have at least one takeaway in 49 consecutive games.
The Bucs are 1-12 the past five years when they allow a 100-yard rusher.
New Orleans RB Deuce McAllister rushed for 110 yards on 26 carries, his sixth consecutive 100-yard plus game.
Starting LT Roman Oben was inactive Sunday with a broken hand, ending his consecutive starting streak at 83 games. Oben started in his 100th career game last week against Dallas.
One week after taking over fourth place on the Bucs’ all-time reception list with his 280th catch in a Tampa Bay uni, WR Keyshawn Johnson jumped up to third place with his seventh reception against the Saints. Johnson shot past Kevin House (286) and finished with 11 on the day.
Brad Johnson’s touchdown pass to RB Michael Pittman in the fourth quarter was his 50th in 37 games as a Buccaneer. Only four other quarterbacks in team history threw 50 or more touchdown passes – Vinny Testaverde (77), Doug Williams (73), Trent Dilfer (70) and Steve DeBerg (61) – and all of them played in at least 64 games as a Buccaneer. Johnson is also the only one of the five whose stat line includes more touchdown passes than interceptions.
With his 22-yard kickoff return in the second quarter, RB Aaron Stecker took over the Buccaneers’ all-time lead in that category. Stecker ran back two kicks on the day for 34 yards and now has career marks of 93 returns for 2246 yards, moving him past Reidel Anthony (2,232 yards) into first place.
Before Sunday's game, Tampa Bay was third in the league in turnover ratio (19 takeaways, eight giveaways). New Orleans was second to last in the NFC with only seven takeaways, compared to 15 turnovers. The Bucs helped the Saints boost their takeaway total with their six turnovers Sunday. Tampa Bay lost four fumbles and QB Brad Johnson threw two interceptions. ``You're not going to win with that many turnovers,'' RG Cosey Coleman said. ``Not in this league and I don't care who the other team is. Turnovers and penalties will kill you every time. We've been a victim of that time and time again.'' Johnson lost a critical fumble inside the red zone in the third quarter. CB Tim Wansley lost another late in the fourth quarter on a punt return. ``That seems to be the theme for the first half of the season - killing ourselves,'' WR Karl Williams said. ``Nobody else has really been doing anything to stop us.''
Injuries keep coming
SS David Gibson was on a golf course this week, out of work since the Colts cut him before the start of the season, when he got the call. The Bucs needed him. Sunday, they really needed him. Five days after signing with the Bucs, Gibson was forced into action after starting SS Jermaine Phillips, playing in place of the injured John Lynch, broke his forearm in the third quarter. ``He just gets off the bus and he's in there for the most critical time. David Gibson did a nice job, but good golly,'' defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. ``The next thing I know he's out there in the two-minute situation at the end of the game and he's playing.''
Said Gibson: ``I knew I was one snap away so I was preparing myself just in case. You always have to prepare yourself for the worst.'' Phillips is expected to miss four to six weeks. The Bucs don't know how long SLB Ryan Nece will be out or if he'll miss any time after he sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter. He was replaced by Dwayne Rudd. Bucs starters seem to drop each week with various injuries. CB Brian Kelly was placed on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle and Lynch has missed two games with a nerve injury. Coach Jon Gruden said ``hopefully'' he'll be able to play this week.
Joe Jurevicius' attempt to come back from a knee injury suffered ``a little setback'' in practice this week, Gruden said, but nothing serious. ``It's just a matter of when he feels good and right now, he doesn't feel good enough,'' Gruden said. Michael Pittman left the game midway through the fourth quarter after scoring his second touchdown of the season. He aggravated a sore hamstring and did not finish the game.
The Bucs entered Sunday's game with the worst field-goal percentage in the league. They didn't do anything against the Saints to improve that position. Martin Gramatica missed his sixth field goal of the season when a 36-yard attempt to end the second quarter sailed wide left. He missed seven all last season when his percentage was 82.1 percent. ``I just pulled it,'' Gramatica said. Next up is the Carolina Panthers, a team that poses big problems for the Bucs' kicking game. Field goals have been the difference in two of the past three games the teams have played. In their 12-9 overtime loss to the Panthers on Sept. 14, the Bucs had two field goals and an extra point blocked. ``I just need to start making some field goals,'' Gramatica said. ``That will help everybody.''