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Brees leads 2nd-half comeback, Saints beat Buccaneers 28-14

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The New Orleans Saints are a long way from where they want to be.

For now, though, repeating as NFC South champions for the first time in franchise history feels pretty good.

''Goal No. 1 was to win the division again and we were able to do that,'' Drew Brees said Sunday after throwing for one touchdown and running for another to help the Saints rally from an 11-point halftime deficit to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28-14.

''I like the way we won this game. We didn't play well in the first half and (faced) a big deficit,'' Brees added. ''We were able to come together with all sides making plays in that second half. I think that was the epitome of a great team win.''

Music blared in the winning locker room.

There's still a lot of work ahead for the Saints (10-2), however clinching any division title - much less with three weeks remaining in the regular season - is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

''This is what guys look forward to. This is fun,'' said Brees, who shrugged off a pair of turnovers to throw a 1-yard TD pass to Zach Line, then scored on a 1-yard sneak as the Saints avenged a season-opening loss to the Bucs (5-8) and also rebounded from a defeat the previous week at Dallas.

''This is the stuff you remember, especially road games - you know, road locker rooms, bus rides, back on the plane. Those moments together,'' Brees added. ''It's hard to win in this league, it's hard to win on the road. We're going to enjoy these moments and continue to build on `em.''

New Orleans' defense did its part after allowing two first-half TDs, too, sacking Jameis Winston four times and limiting the NFL's No. 1-ranked offense to 81 yards in the second half - most of that on the final drive of the game

''We got dominated in the second half,'' said Bucs coach Dirk Koetter, whose team won a high-scoring shootout 48-40 at New Orleans in Week 1. ''We haven't been shut down like that in a long time.''

Brees completed 24 of 31 passes for 201 yards and one interception. Michael Thomas had 11 receptions for 98 yards, giving him 298 catches since entering the league in 2016 - surpassing Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, both with 288, for the most by a player in his first three seasons in NFL history.

A week after being held to a season-low 176 yards total offense in a 13-10 loss to Dallas that ended a 10-game winning streak, the Saints started slowly again.

Winston threw a pair of TD passes to Cameron Brate, the latter a 1-yarder set up by Adarius Taylor's interception to put the Bucs up 14-3 at halftime. The fourth-year pro also threw an 11-yarder to Brate on the opening drive of the game.

The game turned in the third quarter when Brees weathered losing a fumble at his own 27 and later took advantage of the Saints blocking a punt to set up his TD pass to Line, along with Alvin Kamara's 2-point conversion that trimmed Tampa Bay's lead to 14-11.

In addition to missing a 40-yard field goal after Carl Nassib sacked Brees, forcing a fumble Jason Pierre-Paul recovered early in the third quarter, Cairo Santos also had a 46-yard attempt deflect off the right upright in the first half for Tampa Bay, which finished with 279 yards - more than 160 below its league-leading season average.

''Going into the second half I thought that we had an opportunity to put a fork into them, but they got a boost of confidence from a missed field goal, a punt blocked,'' Bucs tackle Demar Dotson said.

''We couldn't get anything going on offense,'' coach Dirk Koetter added. ''Fourteen points isn't going to do it against the Saints.''

Brees' TD run put the Saints ahead early in the fourth quarter. Mark Ingram scored on a 17-yard run to make it 25-14. Will Lutz tacked on a 36-yard field goal in the closing minutes.

Pressured relentlessly in the second while the Saints were taking control of the game, Winston finished 18 of 38 for 213 yards, two touchdowns and one interception - an end-zone throw picked off by Marshon Lattimore with 1 second remaining.

The Bucs had 32 yards in the second half until Winston completed passes of 16, 12 and 21 to march into Saints territory on the final drive.

And, penalties hurt Tampa Bay all day long, including an unnecessary roughness penalty on Bucs center Ryan Jensen late in the second quarter.

At one point, a frustrated Winston was seen arguing on the sideline with Jensen.

''Brothers have disagreements,'' Winston said of the exchange. ''It wasn't that much.''

PERSISTENCE

The Saints ran the ball nine times for just 3 yards in the first half. They stuck with the game plan, though, and finished with 100 on 30 attempts. Ingram had 52 yards on 13 carries, and Kamara rushed for 51 yards on 12 attempts.

TAKEAWAYS

Since failing to force a turnover on defense for seven consecutive games, the Bucs have 10 takeaways over the last three weeks. The Bucs have seven interceptions over that stretch after only having one in the first 10.

INJURIES

Saints: LT Terron Armstead was inactive, replaced by Jermon Bushrod.

Buccaneers: With WR DeSean Jackson (thumb) inactive for the second straight week, Chris Godwin started. Andrew Adams started in place of S Justin Evans (toe) and CB Carlton Davis II (knee) was replaced by Ryan Smith. ... LB Kevin Minter left in the second quarter with a calf injury and did not return.

UP NEXT

Saints: at Carolina next Monday, last of three consecutive road games.

Buccaneers: at Baltimore next Sunday.

---

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Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
D. Brees 9 QB
201 PaYds, PaTD, INT, RuTD
16
FPTS
J. Winston 3 QB
213 PaYds, 2 PaTDs, INT, 47 RuYds
22
FPTS
Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 1:15
W.Lutz 36 yard field goal is GOOD Center-Z.Wood Holder-T.Morstead.
11
plays
41
yds
4:20
pos
28
14
Point After TD 7:26
W.Lutz extra point is GOOD Center-Z.Wood Holder-T.Morstead.
plays
yds
pos
25
14
Touchdown 7:26
M.Ingram up the middle for 17 yards TOUCHDOWN.
7
plays
53
yds
3:08
pos
24
14
Point After TD 11:46
W.Lutz extra point is GOOD Center-Z.Wood Holder-T.Morstead.
plays
yds
pos
18
14
Touchdown 11:46
M.Ola reported in as eligible. D.Brees up the middle for 1 yard TOUCHDOWN.
10
plays
51
yds
5:35
pos
17
14
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Two Point Conversion 4:43
(Run formation) TWO-POINT CONVERSION ATTEMPT. A.Kamara rushes left end. ATTEMPT SUCCEEDS.
plays
yds
pos
11
14
Touchdown 4:43
M.Ola reported in as eligible. D.Brees pass short left to Z.Line for 1 yard TOUCHDOWN.
5
plays
30
yds
2:35
pos
9
14
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 0:26
C.Santos extra point is GOOD Center-G.Sanborn Holder-B.Anger.
plays
yds
pos
3
14
Touchdown 0:29
J.Winston pass short middle to C.Brate for 1 yard TOUCHDOWN [S.Rankins].
6
plays
39
yds
1:56
pos
3
13
Field Goal 7:09
W.Lutz 30 yard field goal is GOOD Center-Z.Wood Holder-T.Morstead.
9
plays
52
yds
4:11
pos
3
7
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 12:19
C.Santos extra point is GOOD Center-G.Sanborn Holder-B.Anger.
plays
yds
pos
0
7
Touchdown 12:24
J.Winston pass short right to C.Brate for 11 yards TOUCHDOWN. Penalty on NO-V.Bell Defensive Pass Interference declined.
7
plays
75
yds
2:41
pos
0
6
Team Stats
Time of Pos 31:52 28:08
1st Downs 19 20
Rushing 6 5
Passing 13 12
Penalty 0 3
3rd Down Conv 6-12 6-14
4th Down Conv 1-1 0-0
Total Net Yards 298 279
Total Plays 62 65
Avg Gain 4.8 4.3
Net Yards Rushing 100 105
Rush Attempts 30 23
Avg Rush Yards 3.3 4.6
Net Yards Passing 198 174
Comp. - Att. 24-31 18-38
Yards Per Pass 6.4 4.6
Sacked - Yards Lost 1-3 4-39
Penalties - Yards 6-51 10-84
Touchdowns 3 2
Rushing TDs 2 0
Passing TDs 1 2
Other 0 0
Turnovers 2 1
Fumbles - Lost 1-1 1-0
Int. Thrown 1 1
Punts - Avg 3-41.7 6-32.7
Return Yards 105 54
Punts - Returns 2-29 1-10
Kickoffs - Returns 3-76 2-44
Int. - Returns 1-0 1-0
Kicking 4/4 2/4
Extra Points 2/2 2/2
Field Goals 2/2 0/2
Red Zone Eff. 3-5 -60% 2-2 -100%
Goal to Go Eff. 2-2 -100% 1-1 -100%
Safeties 0 0
1234T
Saints 11-2 0381728
Buccaneers 5-8 770014
198 PASS YDS 174
100 RUSH YDS 105
298 TOTAL YDS 279
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
D. Brees 9 QB
16
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
77.4% 201 1 1 90.9
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
75.7% 3463 31 4 120.8
D. Brees 24/31 201 1 1 16
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
M. Ingram 22 RB
11
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
13 52 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
110 519 5
M. Ingram 13 52 1 17 11
A. Kamara 41 RB
10
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
12 51 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
173 793 11
A. Kamara 12 51 0 12 10
Z. Line 42 FB
6
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
4 16 0
Z. Line 1 4 0 4 6
D. Brees 9 QB
16
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 0 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
27 26 4
D. Brees 2 0 1 1 16
T. Hill 7 QB
0
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 -7 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
34 167 1
T. Hill 2 -7 0 -1 0
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
M. Thomas 13 WR
9
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
13 11 98 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 102 1218 8
M. Thomas 13 11 98 0 20 9
A. Kamara 41 RB
10
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
6 5 36 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 70 591 4
A. Kamara 6 5 36 0 15 10
B. Watson 82 TE
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 3 24 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 31 337 2
B. Watson 3 3 24 0 11 2
K. Kirkwood 18 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 2 21 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 9 134 2
K. Kirkwood 2 2 21 0 13 2
T. Lewis 11 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 1 20 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 2 48 1
T. Lewis 1 1 20 0 20 2
M. Ingram 22 RB
11
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 1 1 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 16 136 1
M. Ingram 3 1 1 0 1 11
Z. Line 42 FB
6
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 1 1 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 5 14 2
Z. Line 1 1 1 1 1 6
T. Smith 10 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 0 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 22 371 4
T. Smith 1 0 0 0 0 0
J. Hill 89 TE
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 0 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 12 160 1
J. Hill 1 0 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
D. Davis 56 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
66-29 0 3.0
D. Davis 7-1 0.0 0 0
M. Lattimore 23 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
41-8 2 0.0
M. Lattimore 5-0 0.0 1 1
A. Okafor 57 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
21-8 0 3.0
A. Okafor 4-0 0.0 0 0
A. Klein 53 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
35-23 1 2.0
A. Klein 4-0 1.0 0 0
M. Williams 43 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
39-7 2 1.0
M. Williams 4-1 0.0 0 0
C. Jordan 94 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 2.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
31-10 0 12.0
C. Jordan 4-0 2.0 0 0
V. Bell 24 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
47-18 0 0.0
V. Bell 4-0 0.0 0 0
E. Apple 25 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
51-10 1 0.0
E. Apple 2-1 0.0 0 0
M. Davenport 92 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
10-6 0 4.0
M. Davenport 2-2 0.0 0 0
P. Williams 26 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
34-8 1 1.0
P. Williams 2-0 0.0 0 0
T. Davison 95 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-15 0 1.0
T. Davison 2-0 0.0 0 0
A. Anzalone 47 MLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
34-11 1 1.0
A. Anzalone 2-0 0.0 0 0
T. Smith 10 WR
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
T. Smith 1-0 0.0 0 0
S. Rankins 98 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
22-11 0 8.0
S. Rankins 1-2 1.0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
W. Lutz 3 K
8
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
2/2 2/2
SEASON FG XP
25/26 46/47
W. Lutz 2/2 36 2/2 8
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
T. Morstead 6 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
3 51.7 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
31 47.6 10
T. Morstead 3 51.7 1 60
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
A. Kamara 41 RB
10
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 25.3 30 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
3 25.3 30 0
A. Kamara 3 25.3 30 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
T. Lewis 11 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 14.5 17 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
4 7.3 17 0
T. Lewis 2 14.5 17 0
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
J. Winston 3 QB
22
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
47.4% 213 2 1 71.5
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
64.8% 2154 14 12 88.1
J. Winston 18/38 213 2 1 22
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
J. Winston 3 QB
22
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
5 47 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
41 244 1
J. Winston 5 47 0 17 22
P. Barber 25 RB
4
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
14 42 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
183 677 4
P. Barber 14 42 0 13 4
J. Rodgers 32 RB
4
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 16 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
28 101 0
J. Rodgers 4 16 0 9 4
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
M. Evans 13 WR
8
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
6 4 86 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 70 1207 5
M. Evans 6 4 86 0 36 8
A. Humphries 10 WR
4
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
8 4 42 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 57 648 5
A. Humphries 8 4 42 0 15 4
J. Rodgers 32 RB
4
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
5 4 38 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 29 246 0
J. Rodgers 5 4 38 0 16 4
C. Godwin 12 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
10 1 13 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 50 689 5
C. Godwin 10 1 13 0 13 1
A. Auclair 82 TE
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 1 12 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 7 48 0
A. Auclair 1 1 12 0 12 1
C. Brate 84 TE
13
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
4 2 12 2
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 25 233 6
C. Brate 4 2 12 2 11 13
B. Wilson 85 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 1 8 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 1 8 0
B. Wilson 1 1 8 0 8 0
P. Barber 25 RB
4
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 1 2 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 14 73 1
P. Barber 2 1 2 0 2 4
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
L. David 54 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
9-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
74-19 0 1.0
L. David 9-1 0.0 0 0
J. Pierre-Paul 90 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
40-8 0 11.0
J. Pierre-Paul 7-1 0.0 0 0
A. Adams 26 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
15-5 3 0.0
A. Adams 4-1 0.0 0 0
A. Taylor 53 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-2 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
33-15 1 1.0
A. Taylor 4-2 0.0 1 0
J. Shaw 30 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-1 0 0.0
J. Shaw 3-0 0.0 0 0
C. Nassib 94 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
18-6 0 6.0
C. Nassib 3-0 1.0 0 1
B. Grimes 24 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
32-4 0 0.0
B. Grimes 3-1 0.0 0 0
K. Minter 41 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
8-2 0 1.0
K. Minter 3-0 0.0 0 0
V. Vea 50 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
9-3 0 2.0
V. Vea 3-1 0.0 0 0
V. Curry 97 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
13-5 0 2.0
V. Curry 2-0 0.0 0 0
J. Whitehead 31 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
50-13 0 0.0
J. Whitehead 2-1 0.0 0 0
J. Elliott 35 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
15-0 1 0.0
J. Elliott 2-0 0.0 0 0
D. Bond 59 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
13-4 0 0.0
D. Bond 1-0 0.0 0 0
R. Smith 29 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
25-5 1 0.0
R. Smith 1-3 0.0 0 0
B. Allen 91 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
13-2 0 0.0
B. Allen 1-0 0.0 0 0
G. McCoy 93 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
11-9 0 6.0
G. McCoy 0-1 0.0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
C. Santos 5 K
2
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
0/2 2/2
SEASON FG XP
8/11 18/19
C. Santos 0/2 0 2/2 2
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
B. Anger 9 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
5 45.0 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
47 44.7 13
B. Anger 5 45.0 1 62
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
B. Wilson 85 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 22.0 23 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
2 22.0 23 0
B. Wilson 2 22.0 23 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
A. Humphries 10 WR
4
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 10.0 10 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
18 6.6 16 0
A. Humphries 1 10.0 10 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:19 NO 28 4:05 8 25 Punt
4:25 NO 11 2:42 3 4 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:17 NO 36 4:11 9 52 FG
4:18 NO 34 1:56 4 17 INT
0:26 NO 25 0:26 1 -1 Half
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 NO 26 0:46 2 1 Fumble
12:50 NO 30 2:08 3 9 Punt
7:18 TB 30 2:35 5 30 TD
2:21 NO 49 5:35 10 51 TD
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
10:34 NO 47 3:08 7 53 TD
5:32 NO 41 4:20 11 41 FG
0:00 NO 20 0:00 1 -1 Game
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 TB 25 2:41 7 75 TD
8:14 TB 20 3:49 8 32 Punt
1:43 TB 25 5:26 12 47 FG Miss
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
7:06 TB 23 2:48 6 -1 Punt
2:22 TB 39 1:56 6 39 TD
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:14 NO 27 1:24 4 5 FG Miss
10:42 TB 13 3:24 7 28 Punt BLK
4:43 TB 25 2:22 3 -13 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:46 TB 9 1:12 3 -1 Punt
7:26 TB 25 1:54 5 3 Punt
1:12 TB 25 1:12 6 39 INT