Overtime pretty much always ends up being a heartbreaker for someone. Amirite?
Saints 37 – Bucs 31
After four quarters of keeping the Saints offense at bay, the Bucs defense finally let one slip through during the opening series of overtime, allowing New Orleans running back Pierre Thomas, slipping and sneaking his way through tackle after tackle while scrambling eighteen yards for pay dirt and the win.
It looked like it might be going bad early on, with the Saints putting the Bucs on the ropes 13-0. Then Tampa’s offense found a gear late in the second quarter, notching a field goal which provided the first three of what ultimately would be 24 unanswered points before New Orleans finally snapped back in and Drew Brees remembered the name on the back of his jersey. That’s when things got really interesting, with the Saints clawing their way back to eventually tie the game at 31 points apiece. Brees and his offense were driving toward field goal range with under a minute to go in regulation, but Tampa intercepted one of his passes to force overtime.
What happened after that? Well, it was the coin toss that New Orleans one, and the Bucs defense proceeding to shoot themselves in every foot they could find–theirs, mine, that guy chucking bags of peanuts in the stands, you name it. After holding the Saints with three consecutive incomplete Brees passes, a penalty on that third pass play kept the New Orleans offense on the field. With renewed purpose, Brees took eight more plays to drive his team into the red zone, after which Thomas scampered for the TD and the win.
As I said earlier? Ugh.
It was a surreal game, watching the Bucs mount that great comeback after digging themselves into such a deep hole. The Tampa defense was impressive, keeping things close and picking off three Drew Brees passes–which includes running one back for a touchdown. On the other side of the ball, Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon continues to show he’s got some serious mettle, shaking off one interception to engineer that nice rally late in the game.
However, and this is a huge, bold, throbbing HOWEVER: penalties, brah. Fifteen of them, costing the Bucs cumulative yards on both sides of the ball, to say nothing of keeping alive critical Saints scoring drives, such as that last one in OT. That is simply infuriating, particularly when we’re talking about flags for stupid shit that is the result of mental mistakes or lack of discipline, and that goes right back to coaching.
The loss drops Tampa to 1-4 and the cellar of the NFC South Division. With their win, the Saints improve to 2-3 and a tie with the Atlanta Falcons. At the top of the pile sits the Carolina Panthers at 3-2 following their win over Chicago. Next up for the Bucs? Hosting the Baltimore Ravens, who will be looking to get back on track after losing to the Colts. At this point, the division is still up for grabs, but Tampa’s schedule doesn’t really get all that easier, so they better get hot on fixing all the things that ail them, and quick.
Say it with me: “Ugh.”