Saints Strike Fast on Dave Thomas TD

The New Orleans Saints wasted no time taking to the air.

TE Jimmy Graham caught the first Drew Brees pass of the afternoon for a 13-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage. On the next play, the Saints were called for holding, but were able to get out of the first-and-20 jam with a 13-yard pass to WR Marques Colston and a pitch to RB Darren Sproles good for 15 yards.

A 12-yard completion to backup TE David Thomas and a screen to RB Pierre Thomas brought them into the red zone.

From the nine-yard line, Brees dropped back on a second down play and let it go over the middle to TE Dave Thomas. Thomas caught the ball and walked into the end zone. It is Thomas’s third touchdown of the season, his first came against the Buccaneers in Week Seven. Drew Brees was 5-for-5 on the drive with 67 passing yards.

The Buccaneers will take over with just over 11 minutes left in the first quarter and will look for a quick answer of their own.

Buccaneers vs Saints: Coin Toss and Kickoff

Buccaneer captain Josh Freeman, Vincent Jackson, Adam Hayward, Gerald McCoy, Ronde Barber and Andrew Economos took to mid field in the Superdome for the coin toss.

The New OrleansSaints won the toss and elected to receive.

Michael Koenen’s kick went four yards into the end zone. KR Travaris Cadet took the ball out of the end zone and returned it to the 24-yard line.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New Orleans Saints: Inactives

The Buccaneers go into the Superdome to take on the Saints at 1 PM. DE Da’Quan Bowers has been cleared to play by the Buccaneers and is active in today’s game. The following players are inactive for this matchup.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB LeQuan Lewis, RB Michael Smith, LB Najee Goode, G Roger Allen, WR David Douglas, DT Corvey Irvin & DT Matthew Masifilo.

New Orleans Saints: CB Corey White, RB Chris Ivory, LB Scott Shanle, T Zach Strief, DT Tyrunn Walker, TE Michael Higgins & DE Turk McBride.

With OT Zach Strief out, William Robinson will take over at right tackle for the Saints, making his first NFL start. The Saints have also placed S Malcolm Jenkins on injured reserve. Isa Abdul-Quddus will start in Jenkins’ place at free safety.

From Bucs DE Bennett Sends Strong Message to Pro Bowl Voters and Tampa Tribune writer Roy Cummings lays out the statistics, and the conversation, surrounding Buccaneers DE Michael Bennett’s Pro Bowl push. Among other NFC defensive ends, Bennett ranks highly in sacks, pressures, stuffs and quarterback hurries. In his fourth season, he is making a name for himself as a strong presence in the pass rush as well as his ability to stop the run.

Click here to read the entire story.

Eagles 23 – Buccaneers 21 In Last Second Ordeal

The Philadelphia Eagles pulled off the literal last-second victory over the Buccaneers, 23-21. With :02 seconds left, down by five points, Nick Foles found Jeremy Maclin in the end zone for the touchdown. After review, the play was confirmed and the Eagles will leave Tampa with their first win in nine games.

Nick Foles should find himself joining many conversations as one more rookie quarterback to add to the list of stand-outs this year. Foles connected on 32 of 51 passes for 381 yards and two touchdowns. He also added one touchdown on the ground, running it in from 10 yards out in the first half.

Foles had two receivers eclipse the 100-yard mark in the game. Jason Avant led the team with seven receptions for 133 yards. Jeremy Maclin, who caught the game-winner ended the day with 104 on nine catches. Clay Harbor caught the other Foles TD pass and ended the day with 52 yards on six grabs.

The Buccaneers had another strong game against the run and firmly hold their place as the league-leaders in the category. Eagles running back Bryce Brown, who came into the game with more than 340 yards rushing in his last two, was held to just six yards rushing on 12 carries. It was Foles that ended the game as the Eagles’ leading rusher with three carries of 27 yards.

Defensively, LBs Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans led the team in tackles with seven apiece. DTs Fletcher Cox and Cullen Jenkins each recorded a sack.

For the Buccaneers, a slow first half saw the offense find its rhythm late. Josh Freeman threw two second half touchdown passes, ending the game with 189 yards through the air.

Vincent Jackson led the team with 131 yards and a touchdown on six catches. Fellow WR Mike Williams caught the other touchdown and ended the day with 18 yards.

On the ground, Doug Martin had the Buccaneers third touchdown, rushing it in from four yards out in the fourth quarter. Martin ended the day with 128 yards on 28 carries, he also had three receptions.

The Buccaneers’ first score was set up by a fumble recovery from Dekota Watson on a muffed punt that set the team up at the five-yard line. S Ronde Barber and LB Lavonte David led the team with nine tackles each. The Bucs had six sacks on the day. Both DE Michael Bennett and DT Gerald McCoy had two. The others were added by DT Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and LB Lavonte David.

The Buccaneers will head to New Orleans next week to talk on the Saints. The Saints won the first matchup between the two team 35-28. Kickoff is at 1 PM. The Buccaneers will close their regular season in two weeks against the St. Louis Rams.

Eagles Score Closes Game

The Buccaneers defense stood their ground when it mattered most. After cutting the lead to five, the Eagles got the ball back with 2:44 left in the game, needing a touchdown to take the lead and likely fly back to Philadelphia with a win.

On the first play, from their own 36-yard line, Nick Foles connected with Jeremy Maclin for a four-yard gain. Ronde Barber came up with the stop. On second down, Foles dropped back for the pass again, he was flushed out of the pocket and sacked by Michael Bennett, his second of the game. With third-and-long to go, however, Foles stood strong in the pocket and hit Maclin for a 23-yard gain and first down.

On the ensuing first-down play, Foles’ pass fell incomplete, but CB Danny Gorrer was called for defensive holding, giving the Eagles another first down at the Bucs’ 40-yard line.

A deep shot on first down harmlessly hit the ground well long of its target. Second down fell between the two safeties for another incompletion. Third-and-ten from the 40 yard line got the crowd on its feet. Foles dropped back, faked the handoff to Bryce Brown who threw a nice block, and hit Maclin on a screen to the left, who took off up field for a gain of nine, bringing up fourth down.

With one yard to go for the first down, on fourth down, Foles dropped back, saw an opening and scrambled for the first, sliding right after crossing the marker. First down at the 28-yard line. Too many men on the field moved it five yards closer.

First down, incomplete. Second down, incomplete, Third down, incomplete and nearly intercepted.

Fourth down with 16 seconds left in the game. Foles drops back and has time. He connects over the middle with Jason Avant who gets tackled at the one yard line. The Eagles ran to the ball and spiked it with :02 on the clock.

With one play left, Nick Foles rolled to the right and found Jeremy Maclin one more time five yards deep in the end zone, sliding out of bounds. After review, it as confirmed that Maclin caught the ball, had possession with one knee down in the end zone.

The Eagles come out with the last-second victory in Tampa, 23-21.

Eagles Answer Fast, 21-16 Buccaneer Lead

With under four minutes left to go in the game, the Eagles found the end zone again on a Nick Foles pass to TE Clay Harbor from eleven-yards out.

On the drive, Foles connected with WR Jeremy Maclin for two plays of more than 20 yards.

The Eagles opted to go for the two-point conversion, in order to cut the league to just a field goal. Nick Foles had pressure in his faced and was forced to roll out. He was hit as he threw and the ball landed at the feet of his target for no conversion.

The Buccaneers maintain a lead of five, forcing the Eagles to get another touchdown to win the game. The Eagles still have all their timeouts with 3:55 left in the game.

Doug Martin Punches it in, Bucs Up 21-10

Better late than never! The Buccaneers offense has found its rhythm. Doug Martin punched one in from four-yards out to cap off a 75-yard drive and giving the Bucs an 11-point lead.

The Bucs converted two huge third-down plays on the drive. On third-and-nine, Josh Freeman scrambled up the middle for a 13 yard gain. On the next set of downs, he hit Vincent Jackson on a third-and-seven play for a 28-yard completion that set up the Bucs at the 12-yard line.

From there, Martin took three straight handoffs, his third going for the four-yard score. The play puts him over 100 rushing yards on the game. He now officially holds the record for most rushing yards in a rookie season by a Buccaneer.

Vincent Jackson TD Gives Bucs the Lead

The Buccaneers have struck again. This time one a _____.

The drive began at the 23-yard line and the Buccaneers quickly got a first down with a Doug Martin run and Vincent Jackson grab. Doug Martin took the ensuing first down handoff for no gain, setting up second-and-long. Freeman dropped back and, as the Buccaneers are known to do, completed a long pass 40-yards downfield to WR Vincent Jackson. The play takes Jackson to 90 yards receiving on the day.

Two plays later the Bucs found themselves in the Eagles red zone on a nine-yard run bounced outside by Doug Martin and a great block from Freeman to give him the edge. On third down Freeman threw to the end zone where the Eagles were called for pass interference, but the penalty was offset by a personal foul on the offense. On the ensuing play, Doug Martin powered forward for two yards and the first down. A facemask penalty put the ball at the eight-yard line.

Finally, from the 13-yard line, it was Freeman connecting on his second touchdown pass of the game, this time to Vincent Jackson across the middle. Jackson caught the ball near the five and dove past the goal line for the score.

Vincent Jackson is now over 100 yards on the game with a score. The Buccaneers have taken the lead with 14:26 to go in the game. Buccaneers 14 – Eagles 10


Alex Henery Misses Second FG of Game

The Philadelphia Eagles were primed to answer the Buccaneers first touchdown. The opening kickoff was taken out to the 40-yard line, giving the offense good field position to work with.

The Eagles would make it all the way down to the Buccaneer 13-yard line, but a strong red zone stand by the Buccaneer defense forced the 31-yard attempt. With the kick shooting off wide left, the Eagles maintain their 10-7 lead.

The drive was highlighted by a third-and-eight 14-yard scramble from Nick Foles, followed by a 23-yard pass completion to Avant. Defensively, the Buccaneers’ DT Gerald McCoy notched his second sack of the day.