TAMPA — The afternoon after his wild 85-yard interception return for a touchdown in Sunday's loss to the Saints, Bucs LB Mason Foster proudly clutched the ball from the play in front of his locker, thanking his teammates for helping him get to the end zone.
Foster had a convoy of six teammates inside the 5-yard line as he scored, including fellow LB Lavonte David, who made a block on QB Drew Brees at the 30 to clear a path for Foster, who hurdled WR Robert Meachem at the 1 for the score.
"I owe him lunch for that," Foster said of David's downfield help. "I was dead tired, and he ran with me the whole way. That's my brother. It was great to have him blocking for me."
Foster said he hadn't seen his play on TV highlights but enjoyed reliving it during film review with the team Monday. He's now in the books with the third-longest interception return in Bucs history, trailing LBs Shelton Quarles and Derrick Brooks.
"I saw (David) the whole way. When I caught the interception, I saw him running up next to me," Foster said. "I knew if I could stay on Lavonte's hip, he was going to do whatever he can to help me score. This goes for both of us (holding ball). I have to thank him. It was a great effort by the whole defense to get out there and block."
Foster was pleased with the Bucs' pass rush Sunday, which got to Brees for four sacks after totaling one in two games against New Orleans last season. The Saints tied for the third-fewest sacks allowed in the league last season and had given up 16 in the 12 games leading up to Sunday.
Tampa Bay faces a similar challenge this week.
New England gave up just one more sack than New Orleans last season, and Tom Brady, like Brees, isn't known for his elusiveness but is not easy to bring down.
MORE THANKS: Doug Martin's 144-yard rushing game was the Bucs' most consistent plus on offense, and he said the work of the offensive line and the healthy return of FB Erik Lorig (who missed the opener with a calf injury) were a huge part of his success.
"The running game was amazing. The line did an awesome job, getting a push off the line of scrimmage," he said. "I have to give a lot of credit to Erik Lorig. He also did a good job, and the receivers blocking downfield."
THIS AND THAT: Coach Greg Schiano gave credit to backup TE Nate Byham for his 34-yard catch, the team's longest offensive play Sunday, but said he was pleased that "Andrew was able to catch it." Schiano quickly caught himself, naming the fourth-year pro out of Pitt and admitting that "Andrew (Bynum) is the basketball player." … DE Derek Landri, who injured his left leg during Sunday's loss, had his leg wrapped at One Buc Place on Monday. There was no word on the extent of his injury.