Bucs pick off Brees, Saints

Delia Watkins
December 14, 2016

"[I'm] very proud of our guys for finding a way".

Brees began the day leading the league in completions, attempts, completion percentage, passing yards and TD passes, but failed to throw for a touchdown for the second straight week, the first time he's done that in consecutive games since 2009.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) looks to pass against the New Orleans Saints dur ...

In this week's exclusive "Koetter's Korner" interview, Bucs head coach, Dirk Koetter, explained that a 3-interception performance, Sunday against the Saints, was more the doing of the defensive backs themselves.

Saints QB Drew Brees is averaging 325 passing yards, with eight TDs and two interceptions, in his past three road games.

COSTLY MISTAKE: The Bucs ranked last in the league in kickoff returns coming in, but they also hadn't had any significant mistakes in their return game. "This group has worked hard and they'll handle it the right way".

THIS AND THAT: Huff caught a 17-yard pass in his Bucs debut and had 5 yards on a jet-sweep carry. Jameis Winston has been steady after a tough start to the year and the ground game has pretty much used an RB by committee due to injuries. "Those two red-zone punts at the end, those two flip-flops that he nailed, those are huge".

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But City looked patchy at the back and Moussa Dembele, scorer of a brace at Celtic Park, twice got in behind in the early stages. The Scottish side held City to a 3-3 draw at home before getting a 1-1 result at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday. "It is hard .

The Bucs jumped out to a 13-0 lead, dominating the opening quarter and keeping New Orleans' vaunted offense off the field. They managed to score just one touchdown - a 1-yard run from Doug Martin. He also broke up a pass, and the tipped ball was intercepted by corner Vernon Hargreaves III in the second quarter to set up a field goal.

The Saints cut into that lead, first by posting three points off a 42-yard Will Lutz field goal with 5:29 left in the first half and then by taking advantage of three of the worst plays the Buccaneers have made all year.

His versatility has allowed the Saints to play in a number of three-safety alignments on defense, with Vaccaro playing near the line of scrimmage and covering slot receivers or tight ends - acting sort of as a hybrid linebacker and nickel back - while fellow safeties Jairus Byrd and Vonn Bell played deeper and in roles more traditional for safeties.

But while the Saints' playoff chances may not be officially over, following a 16-11 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, their chances are on life support.

It ain't over til we say it's over, etc., etc.

"We've just got to play this one", Saints coach Sean Payton said Wednesday. It also set up a big-time home game this week, as the team now sits in a playoff spot with four games to go. He has now not throw a touchdown in consecutive games for the first time since September 27 at Buffalo - Oct. 4, 2009 vs. the New York Jets. He has scored a rushing TD in his past two games vs. Tampa Bay. If Tampa continues their current tear of creating turnovers, they will win their fifth straight and stay in first place.

The Bucs have given up 22 touchdowns and 12.7 yards per reception, which will provide opportunities for Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas and Willie Snead to make some plays, especially if running backs Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower are successful early.

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