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Bucs snap home touchdown drought against Saints during furious rally

Their fourth-quarter TD was their first at home against New Orleans since 2019.
Published Dec. 6, 2022|Updated Dec. 6, 2022

TAMPA — During their knuckle-whitening comeback Monday night, the Bucs finally wiped away one of the most embarrassing blemishes in their recent history.

Tom Brady’s 1-yard scoring pass to Cade Otton with three minutes to play snapped a streak of 12 consecutive quarters without a home touchdown against the Saints. Brady’s 6-yard TD to Rachaad White with three seconds remaining clinched a 17-16 triumph.

“It’s the truth,” Brady said when asked about the drought following the triumph.

“I was going to say it’s an insult, but it’s really not an insult, it’s the absolute truth. I wish we could score more points against them, they make it really hard. They’ve got a really good scheme, they’ve got good players, they cover you well, rush well.”

Before the connection to Otton, one had to backpedal to Nov. 17, 2019 — when Jameis Winston found Chris Godwin for a 30-yard touchdown in the third quarter — to find a TD at home against New Orleans. The Bucs lost that one, 34-17.

They fell 9-0 to the Saints at Raymond James Stadium in a Sunday night encounter last December and were embarrassed 38-3 at home on Nov. 8, 2020 — also a Sunday night game.

Judge honors another deep threat

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who broke the American League single-season home run record with his 62nd blast in October, circulates among fans on the sidelines before the start of Monday night's game at Raymond James Stadium.
New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who broke the American League single-season home run record with his 62nd blast in October, circulates among fans on the sidelines before the start of Monday night's game at Raymond James Stadium. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

American League single-season home run king Aaron Judge, baseball’s biggest free agent by stature and statistical prowess, momentarily spiked the delusions of Rays fans desperate for a big bat with his pregame appearance on the sideline Monday.

Judge, whose 62 home runs this past season eclipsed Roger Maris’ 61-year-old AL record, was spotted on the sideline in a red Mike Evans No. 13 jersey before the game.

Roughly two months earlier, Evans sported a No. 99 road Yankees jersey in the locker room following a Week 5 win against the Falcons. At the time, ESPN reported the two met once during baseball’s spring training.

“He had my jersey on?” Evans said afterward. “He’s a legend. ... That’s my guy. Unbelievable player. Cool dude, too.”

Judge watched Evans (four catches, 59 yards) move into 50th place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yardage list. He’s at 10,062 yards.

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Not a popular punt

A night that elicited periodic boos drew its heartiest chorus of them midway through the fourth quarter, when coach Todd Bowles opted to punt on fourth and 10 from his own 25.

Bowles initially had the offense on the field, but pulled it off. At that point, the Bucs trailed by 13 with 7:06 remaining.

“We had a lot of time on the clock right there,” Bowles said. “And we figured we’d get them backed up, make them punt and still get the same field position.”

They did. The defense forced a three-and-out, and the Bucs took over at their own 9 with 5:21 remaining after a 35-yard Blake Gillikin punt. Ten plays later, they scored to cut the deficit to six.

By the numbers

2 Targets (apiece) for four-time Pro Bowler Mike Evans and rookie tight end Ko Kieft after three quarters Monday

9 Career touchdown catches for Saints utility specialist Taysom Hill, who had a 30-yard scoring catch in the second quarter. He’s now one of six NFL players with nine passing, receiving and rushing TDs in their careers (according to ESPN).

25-1/2 Career sacks for Carl Nassib, who sacked Andy Dalton for a 10-yard loss with 2:47 to play

28 Career sacks by Bucs linebacker Lavonte David, 10th-most in team history. David sacked Dalton for an 8-yard loss on the Saints’ third play Monday night.

160 Career games played by David, passing Tony Mayberry for sixth-most in team history

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