Week 13 Game Recap: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10, New Orleans Saints 3
What you need to know
The Buccaneers had a very meager offensive day, scoring just ten points and visiting the red zone just once but somehow managed a victory. Led by their defense, Tampa Bay held the Saints to just three points and forced four turnovers including three interceptions by DB Ronde Barber.
RB Cadillac Williams ran for nearly 100 yards, falling just four yards shy, but ran with both strength and speed all afternoon against the Saints. RB Michael Pittman added 40 more rushing yards as the ground game led the offense.
QB Chris Simms managed the game effectively as he was only asked to throw the ball 21 times by HC Jon Gruden, but he did throw the only touchdown of the game to WR Joey Galloway. Galloway nearly had a second score in the fourth quarter but the pass fell through his fingers and incomplete.
PK Todd France stepped in for kicking duties for the injured PK Matt Bryant.
QB Aaron Brooks was the story for the Saints in Week 13, but not in a complimentary way. Brooks was extremely inaccurate with his passing, throwing four interceptions and missing wide open WRs Joe Horn and Donte’ Stallworth for probable first half touchdowns. Both receivers combined for only five catches and 60 yards despite 17 targets.
The Saints also could not muster much of a ground game, as they ran the ball for just 65 yards and two first downs despite 27 attempts.
TE Zach Hilton stepped up and caught the most passes of any Saints’ receiver, tying RB Aaron Stecker with four catches. Hilton continues to perform well as the new starting TE for New Orleans.
New Orleans did manage to block a field goal attempt in the first quarter, their first blocked field goal of the season.
What you ought to know
|QB Chris Simms, Pass: 12 - 21 - 123 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - -3 - 0|
Simms played the game efficiently, taking care of the ball and putting it in the hands of his skill players. He was not asked to do much more than to manage the game and make cautious decisions to avoid turnovers and giving New Orleans a short field.
Simms threw one touchdown to WR Joey Galloway, a short pass that Galloway turned into a 30 yard catch and run for a score in the second quarter. Simms should have had a second touchdown as he dropped a perfect pass over the shoulder of Galloway in the fourth quarter that went through his leading receiver’s hands. The 39 yard touchdown never showed up on the scoreboard as a result, which would have both sealed the victory much earlier for Tampa Bay and improved Simms’ pedestrian stat line.
Williams ran the ball early and often, and looked strong and skilled nearly every time he touched the football. He made cut after cut, making defenders tackle air, and when he did face contact Williams showed strength in pushing the pile back for a few extra yards. He was effective the entire game, and in fact grew stronger as the game wore on, a fact that seems consistent for him this season. Williams entered Week 13 with an average of 6.6 yards per carry in the fourth quarter, and his longest run of the game came in the final period, a 22 yarder.
Pittman complimented RB Cadillac Williams in the backfield, gaining 40 yards on just four carries. His highlight was a 28 yard run in the third quarter. Pittman also caught two passes for 19 total yards and two first downs.
Alstott was targeted twice out of the backfield on short passes. The first target was an attempted screen that was defended by the Saints. Alstott dropped his second chance on a pass in the flat.
Galloway caught the only touchdown of the game, a 30 yard catch and run in the second quarter. He should have had a second one but dropped what would have been a 39 yard touchdown in the final period. Galloway was QB Chris Simms’ favorite target, getting nine chances for a reception.
Hilliard was targeted once in each of the last three quarters of the game. His first target was uncatchable, but he did grab the last two for 11 and 12 yards each and first downs.
Smith finished the game with two targets, catching a shovel pass on third and goal in the fourth quarter. The Saints read the play and stopped Smith for a one yard loss. Smith’s other target was a pass thrown away by QB Chris Simms and was not catchable.
France filled in for the injured K Matt Bryant in Week 13. His first field goal attempt of 43 yards in the first quarter was blocked, but France made good on his other field goal attempt of 28 yards in the fourth quarter. France also made his lone extra point attempt.
The Saints managed to gain just 65 yards on 27 attempts, a meager 2.4 yards a carry. Tampa Bay did not allow any runs for more than nine yards and the Saints gained just two first downs on the ground.
DB Ronde Barber collected three of the four Tampa Bay interceptions, and the front four defenders keep Saints QB Aaron Brooks under pressure for most of the afternoon. The four turnovers both set up the Tampa offense and kept the Saints out of the end zone.
|QB Aaron Brooks, Pass: 18 - 34 - 215 - 0 TD / 4 INT, Rush: 3 - 9 - 0|
Brooks finished the game with over 200 yards and completed over half of his passes, but the problem was his accuracy. Brooks had both WR Joe Horn and WR Donte’ Stallworth wide open deep in the first half for touchdowns of 40 or more yards, but he missed both badly. He made poor decisions all afternoon, throwing late or into double or even triple coverage.
The inaccuracy from Brooks led to four Buccaneers’ interceptions. While he was under pressure and hurried often, he made bad choices on more than one occasion. Brooks threw late towards open receivers or forced balls into coverage, giving the Buccaneers time to recover and make a play on the ball. One interception was on a fourth down, so Brooks should not be faulted for turning the ball over and trying to make a play, but three of the picks were his fault. The final interception was the most disheartening, as the Saints were driving in the final two minutes towards a potential game tying touchdown. His decision to force a throw into coverage for WR Joe Horn at the goal line resulted in Brooks’ fourth intercepted pass against Tampa Bay and ended the game.
Smith received the bulk of the carries for the Saints, rushing 18 times but for just 49 yards. He was able to break one run for 18 yards in the second quarter, but it was called back due to a holding penalty. None of Smith’s other carries went for more than nine yards and he finished with a paltry 2.7 yard average.
Stecker was the complimentary back to RB Antowain Smith, often entering the game on passing downs. He had just five carries for five yards, but added four catches out of the backfield. He caught one ball in each quarter, with the highlight coming in the second quarter as he scampered for 41 yards after the catch. The 41 yard reception was his longest catch of the season.
Thomas carried the ball just once for two yards in the third quarter.
Stallworth caught just three passes for a scant 20 yards, but he was the victim of bad passes thrown in his direction. Stallworth was open for a probable touchdown in the second quarter for what would have been a 40 yard reception, but QB Aaron Brooks overthrew him badly. Stallworth was only able to record three catches, the longest for just 11 yards.
Henderson caught every pass that was thrown in his direction. He made a 16 yard catch for a first down in the opening quarter, and added a 23 yard catch for another first down before halftime. He also reeled in a short pass for three yards in the final period.
|WR Joe Horn, Rec: 2 - 40 - 0 (10 targets)|
Horn was the most targeted Saint in Week 13, getting ten chances. His best chance was his first, as he was wide open in the secondary but QB Aaron Brooks overthrew him badly and lost the touchdown chance. Horn looked as if he could have scored on the play, and surely a 55 yard touchdown would have changed the complexion of the game.
Three of Horn’s targets resulted in interceptions, as Horn drew a lot of attention from the Tampa Bay defense. Horn was unable to make a play on any of the three turnovers as DB Ronde Barber undercut the pass routes. Horn was only able to catch two balls for the entire game, a 25 yarder in the second quarter and another for 15 yards in the fourth.
Hilton is huge target at the tight end position for QB Aaron Brooks, and Brooks targeted the 6’ 8” receiver nine times against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers’ “Cover 2” defense gives up a lot of area to the tight end both over the middle and at the sideline, and that is where Hilton lived all day. He finished with 50 yards on four catches, all for first downs. Two of his four other chances were also caught by Hilton, but he lost the credit for the two catches and 14 more yards due to penalties.
Hall caught just one pass in the first quarter for seven yards.
Carney made the most of his only opportunity to score. He converted a field goal attempt of 26 yards in the second quarter.
Tampa Bay ran for over 130 yards as a team, averaging over four yards a carry and controlling the clock. RB Cadillac Williams pounded the ball inside and also dashed outside for big gains. The Buccaneers had three rushes that went for over 10 yards as their ground game was a significant part of their offense against New Orleans.
The Saints yielded just 123 yards to QB Chris Simms, but Simms only attempted 21 passes. Simms did manage to throw the only touchdown of the game, and he had another scoring pass dropped in the end zone. New Orleans forced zero turnovers and had just one sack.