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Tampa Bay at New Orleans

Brees, Bush carry load as Saints outgun rival Buccaneers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW ORLEANS -- Saints fans partied near debris piles and leaning fences -- the lingering evidence of Hurricane Gustav's path through New Orleans last week.

The Louisiana Superdome was in good shape, however, as was the team that calls the enduring and iconic stadium home.

Drew Brees passed for 343 yards and three touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, giving fans already jubilant about their team's quick return from Gustav a 24-20 season-opening triumph to celebrate as well.

"It was a great way to start the season off," Brees said. "Obviously, coming off a week where everyone was displaced from their homes here in New Orleans, and coming back and obviously having the fans back in full force -- it was awesome."

Tampa Bay had a shot to win the brutally physical, back-and-forth contest until linebacker Scott Fujita intercepted Jeff Garcia's fourth-down pass, intended for Ike Hilliard, just inside the Saints 20-yard line with about 40 seconds to go.

"I lost track of where the linebacker was," Garcia said. "If I had to do it all over again I probably would have gone outside and given Antonio (Bryant) a shot."

Brees' scoring passes went for 39 yards to David Patten, 84 yards to Devery Henderson and 42 yards to Reggie Bush, with Bush's score putting the Saints in the lead for good in the fourth quarter.

Garcia was 24-of-41 for 221 yards, including a 2-yard TD pass to Hilliard, which gave the Bucs a brief 20-17 lead.

Tampa Bay's offense produced only one touchdown. The Bucs defense scored the other in the first quarter, when blitzing linebacker Barrett Ruud hit Brees as he threw, causing a fluttering pass that Phillip Buchanon intercepted and returned 26 yards.

"Credit to New Orleans, but we missed some routine plays we normally make," Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden said. "It was bad coaching and bad execution."

Bush, who vowed to come back strong from a down second season in which he never had a gain longer than 25 yards, had 112 yards receiving and 51 yards rushing. He did most of the work on the winning drive, starting with a 29-yard gain on a short reception over the middle.

His touchdown came on a third-down swing pass on which he juked Jermaine Phillips at the 25 and stiff-armed Buchanon at the 5 before diving for the pylon. Bush was close to stepping out of bounds, but Tampa Bay did not challenge the call.

Making the score even more gratifying for Bush was the fact Phillips had been in his face one play earlier.

"The play before he was talking trash and the next play he was on my highlight tape," Bush said.

After sitting out all four preseason games, flamboyant tight end Jeremy Shockey made his debut for New Orleans and had the crowd chanting his name while he celebrated a tough 10-yard catch on third down. The gain, just a few plays after his 26-yard reception, set up Martin Gramatica's field goal late in the third quarter that tied it at 10.

Shockey finished with six catches for 54 yards.

Henderson's TD reception, a career-long catch for him, came after Brees had drawn the Bucs offside and then took a shot downfield for his fastest receiver, who was wide open after Ronde Barber fell down.

"When they jumped offside it was a no-brainer" to throw deep, Brees said.

The play put the Saints up 17-13 in the final minute of the third quarter.

"We don't give up explosive plays, but they were able to get a couple today," Gruden said. "They caught us in a couple man-to-man situations and executed them perfectly."

Tampa Bay finally converted its first third down early in the fourth quarter on Joey Galloway's 13-yard reception, which extended an 11-play, 73-yard drive that ended with Hilliard's score with 10:43 left.

Tampa Bay's Earnest Graham led all rushers with 91 yards on 10 carries. His career-long 46-yard gain, on which he broke four tackles, set up Matt Bryant's 33-yard field goal that gave the Bucs a 13-10 lead in the third quarter.

Notes

  • Several Saints left the game with various injuries, including safety Roman Harper, cornerback Randall Gay and lineman Antwan Lake (left groin). Payton did not specify some of the injuries other than to say they appeared minor.
  • Deuce McAllister dressed for the game but did not play, as expected, after missing some practice because of tenderness in his surgically repaired left knee.
  • Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks left the game with a hamstring injury in the third quarter.
  • Charles Grant and Bobby McCray each had one sack for New Orleans.
  • Ruud had a game-high 10 tackles for Tampa Bay.
  • Jonathan Vilma had nine tackles for New Orleans.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Drew Brees heats up and winds up burning the Buccaneers for three touchdown passes.
 
Drew Brees heats up and winds up burning the Buccaneers for three touchdown passes. (Getty Images)
 

 

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Sun. Sept. 7Final
733720
7010724
TB - Pass: J. Garcia (24-41, 221), Rush: E. Graham (10-91)
NO - Pass: D. Brees (23-32, 343), Rec: R. Bush (8-112)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDDavid Patten, 39 Yd pass from Drew Brees (Martin Gramatica kick is good), 11:27. Drive: 6 plays, 76 yards in 3:33.
TDPhillip Buchanon, 26 Yd interception return (Matt Bryant kick is good), 8:13.
2ND QUARTER
FGMatt Bryant 37 Yd, 0:03. Drive: 7 plays, 61 yards in 1:25.
3RD QUARTER
FGMartin Gramatica 34 Yd, 2:49. Drive: 11 plays, 55 yards in 5:24.
FGMatt Bryant 33 Yd, 0:33. Drive: 5 plays, 51 yards in 2:16.
TDDevery Henderson, 84 Yd pass from Drew Brees (Martin Gramatica kick is good), 0:13. Drive: 1 play, 84 yards in 0:20.
4TH QUARTER
TDIke Hilliard, 2 Yd pass from Jeff Garcia (Matt Bryant kick is good), 10:38. Drive: 11 plays, 73 yards in 4:35.
TDReggie Bush, 42 Yd pass from Drew Brees (Martin Gramatica kick is good), 7:38. Drive: 5 plays, 80 yards in 3:00.
Players of the Game
New Orleans

D. Brees
Att 32
Comp 23
Yds 343
TD 3

I. Hilliard
Rec 6
Yds 45
Avg 7.5
TD 1
 
Tampa Bay
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
J. Garcia24/4122111
RushingATTYDSTDLG
E. Graham1091046
W. Dunn954014
J. Garcia1101
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
J. Galloway656013
I. Hilliard645111
A. Bryant343026
E. Graham327018
B. Askew320013
A. Smith219011
W. Dunn111011
New Orleans
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
D. Brees23/3234331
RushingATTYDSTDLG
P. Thomas1052018
R. Bush1451026
D. Brees3-200
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
R. Bush8112142
D. Henderson184184
J. Shockey654026
D. Patten139139
M. Colston326016
L. Moore21709
P. Thomas21106
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
DEN 41 Final
OAK 14
MIN 19 Final
GB 24
CHI 29 Final
IND 13
ARI 23 Final
SF 13
CAR 26 Final
SD 24
DAL 28 Final
CLE 10
JAC 10 Final
TEN 17
HOU 17 Final
PIT 38
STL 3 Final
PHI 38
KC 10 Final
NE 17
NYJ 20 Final
MIA 14
SEA 10 Final
BUF 34
CIN 10 Final
BAL 17
DET 21 Final
ATL 34
WAS 7 Final
NYG 16