Week 17 Game Recap: New Orleans Saints 13, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27
What you need to know
The Saints were in the game for three and a half quarters, but could not get over the hump and take the lead against the Buccaneers. QB Todd Bouman fumbled away any chance they had to comeback with 1:43 left in the game on a sack that the Buccaneers returned for a touchdown. The turnover gave Tampa Bay a 27-13 lead with little time remaining for the Saints to mount a comeback.
Bouman finished with 265 yards passing and threw a touchdown score to WR Devery Henderson from 24 yards out, but turned the ball over three times, all of which Tampa Bay converted into scores.
RB Antowain Smith led the Saints with 55 yards on 16 carries, but could not get much going against the Buccaneers’ second ranked defense.
WR’s Az-zahir Hakim and Donte Stallworth each had six catches for New Orleans, Hakim finishing with 71 yards and Stallworth totaling 61 for the game and Devery Henderson caught a Bouman touchdown pass.
DB Dwight Smith led the Saints’ defense with eight combined tackles.
The Buccaneers clinched the NFC South division title and their eleventh win of the season with superb defensive play and a strong first half from their young QB Chris Simms.
Simms threw two touchdown passes in the first half, both to WR Joey Galloway and finished with 143 yards through the air. The young quarterback struggled finding his rhythm in the second half, and it almost hurt his team. Simms had thrown an interception in the fourth quarter with Tampa up 17-13 that was overturned, and he led the team downfield for a Bryant field goal to extend the lead to seven.
Cadillac Williams led the Buccaneers rushing attack with 81 yards on 22 carries, but as his yard per carry average (3.7) shows, he earned every yard he got.
WR Joey Galloway was once again the bright spot in the Tampa passing game, catching four Simms passes for 38 yards, two of which were touchdown receptions. The veteran wideout had scores of four and seven yards, and also had a 44 yard touchdown called back.
What you ought to know
|QB Todd Bouman, Pass: 25 - 37 - 265 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0|
Bouman threw for 265 yards on 25 of 37 passing and hit WR Devery Henderson from 24 yards out for his only touchdown pass of the game. He turned the ball over three times, including two interceptions and a lost fumble following a Tampa sack that the Buccaneers recovered and returned for a touchdown.
Smith could not get much going against Tampa’s solid defense, running for 55 yards on 16 carries.
Stecker contributed nicely in the passing game, catching four balls for 16 yards on five targets, but rushed only twice for ten yards.
Thomas did not do much, rushing for seven yards on four carries and catching one pass for two yards for the game.
Hakim had ten balls thrown his way and responded by hauling in six catches for 71 yards.
Stallworth was thrown to nine times and was able to bring in six of those for 61 yards.
Henderson caught only two passes for the game, but made one of them count, catching a 24 yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. He was targeted three times for the game.
|WR Joe Horn, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (3 targets)|
Horn was not a big factor in the game, finishing with only one catch for 11 yards on three targets.
Hilton led the Saints in receiving, with 74 yards on five catches and was thrown to nine times.
Carney made good on field goal attempts from 25 and 24 yards and hit his only point after attempt.
New Orleans rush defense was able to hold RB Cadillac Williams under 100 yards, surrendering 81 yards on 22 carries to the talented back. They did give up a big play to Tampa RB Michael Pittman, who shot through the Saints defensive front and was caught at the one yard line for a 64 yard gain that set up a Galloway touchdown reception.
The Saints pass defense got off to a rough start, as Tampa quarterback Chris Simms threw for two first half touchdowns, but picked it up after that, and did not give the Buccaneers much breathing room downfield. For the game, Simms threw for only 143 yards and completed 12 of 25 passes. The New Orleans defensive unit did give up a touchdown to Galloway in the second half that was called back for penalty.
|QB Chris Simms, Pass: 12 - 25 - 143 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0|
Simms had a big first half for the Bucs, throwing for 79 yards and two scores, but cooled down in the second half and finished 12 of 25 for 143 yards. Both of his touchdown passes were to Joey Galloway, from seven and four yards out, and also had a 44 yard touchdown score to Galloway called back on a holding penalty.
Williams had a solid day on the ground, running for 81 yards on 22 carries
Pittman gave the Buccaneers a big play in the second quarter when he broke a 64 yard run that set up a Simms to Galloway touchdown, and also caught three passes for 35 yards for the game. He also contributed on special teams, returning three kicks for a total of 85 yards.
|RB Mike Alstott, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 1 - 24 - 0 (3 targets)|
Alstott carried the ball only one time for two yards, but had a 24 yard reception on his only catch for the game. He did have a one yard touchdown called back for penalty.
Galloway had nine balls thrown his way, and hauled in four receptions for 38 yards, including touchdown scores from four and seven yards out. He also had a 44 yard touchdown reception called back for a holding penalty.
Hilliard was targeted six times, but caught only two passes for 20 yards.
Shepherd was not a big factor, catching one pass for four yards.
Smith’s only reception was a big one, catching a 22 yard pass on third down and helping the Buccaneers get into field goal range, where Bryant hit a 26 yarder to put Tampa Bay up 20-13.
Bryant hit all three of his extra point attempts, and made good on field goals from 46 and 26 yards.
The Buccaneers were able to shut down the Saints running game, and gave up a total of 71 yards on 23 carries (3.1 average) for the game. As a result, the Saints were able to muster only one first down via the run for the game, and could not attain the balance needed to soften up Tampa’s aggressive defense.
Tampa Bay’s pass defense gave up 265 yards through the air, including a touchdown pass from Bouman to Henderson, but never stopped bringing pressure, and it paid off. They intercepted Bouman twice and sacked the New Orleans signal caller late in the game, forcing and recovering a fumble for a touchdown. For the game, they finished with four sacks and two interceptions.