WON - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 New Orleans Saints 23
Tampa Bay Buccaneers took on the New Orleans Saints for the second time this season, this time at the Superdome. Luke McCown started at quarterback for the Buccaneers in place of the injured Jeff Garcia. McCown passed for 313 yards, and connected on his first 15 consecutive passes of the game.
The Buccaneers scored the first points of the game with Matt Bryant's 27-yard field goal. New Orleans answered with WR Terrance Copper catching a 4-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees. Late in the first quarter, McCown connected with WR Joey Galloway for a 60-yard catch which set Tampa Bay up on 1-yard line.
Buccaneers retook the lead early in the second quarter with TE Anthony Becht catching a 1-yard TD, and Matt Bryant making another field goal to increase the Tampa Bay lead to 13–7. New Orleans scored a touchdown just before halftime, a 45-yard pass to WR Devery Henderson, to make it 13–14 at halftime.
In the second half, RB Earnest Graham scored a 25-yard touchdown run. New Orleans had to punt on their ensuing possession, but disaster struck with 3 minutes remaining in the third quarter as miscommunication between McCown and Galloway led to a Saints interception which was returned for a touchdown.
Leading 21–20 with 4 minutes remaining in the game, Saints punter Steve Weatherford made a successful coffin corner punt which pinned the Buccaneers at their own 2-yard line. Two plays later, Delaware Will Smith sacked McCown for a safety. After the safety kick, New Orleans looked to run the clock out and seal the victory. However, in an unexpected and perhaps season-altering mistake, Reggie Bush fumbled a double reverse intended for WR Devery Henderson and Jovan Haye recovered for Tampa Bay at the New Orleans 37-yard line. Three plays later, the Buccaneers found themselves in a predicament as they faced a fourth down and 1 at the New Orleans 28. Instead of attempting a game-tying field goal, however, coach Jon Gruden went for it on fourth down, calling a run around right tackle which Graham converted for a first down. Three plays later, McCown found TE Jerramy Stevens for a 4-yard touchdown to win the game.
With the win, the Buccaneers improved to 8–4 and maintained a perfect division record. Tampa Bay only needed to win one game in the final four weeks to clinch the NFC South division crown.
- REFEREE: Ron Winter
- UMPIRE: Roy Ellison
- HEAD LINESMAN: Tom Stabile
- LINE JUDGE: Tom Stephan
- SIDE JUDGE: Atom Hill
- BACK JUDGE: Steve Freeman
- FIELD JUDGE: Mike Weir
- REPLAY OFFICAL: Ken Baker
- VIDEO OPERATOR: Jim Grant
- BUCCANEERS: 9:54-1Q Bryant FG27
- SAINTS: 2:05-1Q Copper 4 pass from Brees (Mare kick)
- BUCCANEERS: 14:20-2Q Becht 1 pass from McCown (Bryant kick)
- BUCCANEERS: 7:52-2Q Bryant FG31
- SAINTS: 3:21-2Q Henderson 45 pass from Brees (Mare kick)
- BUCCANEERS: 9:36-3Q Graham 25 run (Bryant kick)
- SAINTS: 3:05-3Q McKenzie 53 interception return (Mare kick)
- SAINTS: 3:44-4Q Safety - McCown sacked in the endzone
- BUCCANEERS: 0:14-4Q Stevens 4 pass from McCown (Bryant kick)
- WR: #84 J. Galloway
- LT: #70 D. Penn
- LG: #78 A. Sears
- C: #76 J. Wade
- RG: #75 D. Joseph
- RT: #65 J. Trueblood
- TE: #81 A. Smith
- WR: #86 J. Stevens
- QB: #12 L. McCown
- FB: #34 E. Graham
- RB: #35 B. Askew
- LE: #93 K. Carter
- DT: #95 C. Hovan
- DT: #71 J. Haye
- RE: #90 G. Adams
- SLB: #59 C. June
- MLB: #51 B. Ruud
- WLB: #55 D. Brooks
- RCB: #31 P. Buchanon
- LCB: #20 R. Barber
- SS: #23 J. Phillips
- FS: #28 T. Jackson
- 3 Bryant, 5 Gradkowski, 9 Bidwell, 19 Hilliard, 22 Davis, 25 Kelly, 26 Allen, 29 Bennett, 32 Pittman, 39 Pearson, 44 Storer, 48 Economos, 54 Chukwurah, 56 Nece, 57 Hayward, 58 Black, 68 Lehr,69 Davis, 80 Clayton, 85 Stovall, 88 Becht, 91 White, 98 Sims
DID NOT PLAY
- 7 Garcia , 17 Spurlock, 36 Gates, 50 Trotter, 72 Buenning, 87 Heinrich, 94 Spires, 96 Peterson
- BUCCANEERS: Graham 22-106, McCown 2-34, Clayton 1-20, Bennett 1-12.
- SAINTS: Bush 13-64, Stecker 7-16, Brees 1-4.
- BUCCANEERS: McCown 37-29-313-1-2.
- SAINTS: Brees 23-17-179-0-2.
- BUCCANEERS: Galloway 7-159, Graham 7-37, Hilliard 4-29, Askew 3-41, Stevens 2-8, Pittman 2-6, Bennett 1-12, Smith 1-11, Stovall 1-9, Becht 1-1.
- SAINTS: Stecker 4-35, Bush 3-13, Colston 2-39, Moore 2-18, Johnson 2-12, Henderson 1-45, Karney 1-7, Miller 1-6, Copper 1-4.
- BUCCANEERS: none
- SAINTS: Moore 5-83, Patten 2-20.
- BUCCANEERS: Clayton 4-89.
- SAINTS: Moore 5-83, Patten 2-20.
- BUCCANEERS: Hilliard 2-13, Galloway 1-2, Buchanon 1-(-6).
- SAINTS: none
- BUCCANEERS: Barber 1-7, Adams 1-6, Haye 1-4.
- SAINTS: Smith 1-7, Wynn 1-8, Simoneau 1-4.