Saints trounce Bucs 42-17
NEW ORLEANS — Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw for four touchdowns and ran for a fifth, carving up the Bucs defense and ending Tampa Bay's season with a dominating 42-17 win that clinched a playoff spot for New Orleans.
The Bucs (4-12) had played the Saints (11-5) close in a Week 2 loss, but there was nothing close Sunday as Brees threw for 321 yards and four touchdowns in the first half. Brees finished the game with 381 passing yards, surpassing 5,000 yards for the season for the fourth time in his career.
The fate of Bucs coach Greg Schiano remains unknown after his second season, but Sunday's 42 points were the most allowed by the Bucs in his two years. The Bucs failed to make the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year under general manager Mark Dominik, whose job may also be on the line.
Tampa Bay answered the Saints' first touchdown, as Bobby Rainey pitched the ball back to Mike Glennon for a 48-yard flea-flicker touchdown to Tiquan Underwood. A second Glennon touchdown pass cut the lead to 21-14 in the second quarter.
But Brees answered with a 76-yard touchdown to Kenny Stills. He completed his first 11 passes, going 14 of 15 for 200 yards in the first 20 minutes of the game.
The Bucs got to the 25-yard line right before halftime but were stopped there, and lined up for an awkward fake field goal, which saw holder Michael Koenen roll out and barely attempt a pass, taking away a potential three points. The defense couldn't stop the Saints with any consistency, giving up a season-high 470 yards.