NEW ORLEANS -- The low point in the Bucs' late-game struggles — which saw them give away an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter — was an implosion of a drive that saw penalties and mistakes give the Saints a key safety.
"It was not a good series for us," QB Mike Glennon understated after the game. "We ... obviously would have loved to move the ball and get points and eventually end the game. Between the penalties and everything else, the drive was not well-executed. That's something we will look at, to correct the mistakes and get better at it.'
The Bucs led 31-26 with 9:28 left to play and started a drive from their own 20. Things started unraveling when RT Demar Dotson was flagged for holding, backing them up to their 10-yard line.
They avoided one disaster when C Evan Dietrich-Smith snapped the ball while WR Vincent Jackson was in motion in front of the quarterback, with the ball bouncing off his shoulder and forcing Glennon to fall on the loose ball at the 2-yard line. A delay of game penalty pushed the Bucs back to their 1, and a false start left them just feet from their own end zone. A Doug Martin's run for no gain set up a third-and-29 from the 1-yard line.
The Bucs' offensive line missed a stunt that sent Saints DE Junior Galette unblocked to Glennon, who he sacked in the end zone for a safety, pulling the Saints within a field goal, which they earned on the ensuing drive.
"It was more of a situation where the guys just didn't get it done," Dotson said. "We had every opportunity to win this football game. ... We just didn't finish. We let the game slip through our hands."