Saints Find A Way To Win In Tampa Bay
It's a classic case of too little too late, but the Saints picked up a 24-17 win over Tampa Bay to defend a bit of their pride and spoil the Bucs' playoff party.
The wildcard situation in the NFC is up in the air, but the Saints tripped up Jameis Winston and the Bucs when they hoped to position themselves closer to a berth. With Mark Ingram out for the season, Tim Hightower stepped into the light and accepted some shine. He rushed for 85 yards on 28 carries and picked up his first rushing TD since 2011 when the Saints needed him most.
On another bright note, the defense started hot with three straight three and outs, then stifled Winston and the Bucs enough for Brees' passing onslaught (31-41, 312 yards, 2 TD's) to put the game away.
Dennis Allen's crew wasn't perfect on the day, and a few dumb penalties still made Who Dat Nation pull their hair out...but it was a definite improvement. They held the Bucs under 300 yards of total offense and managed to hold the Bucs to only 17 points without a single takeaway.
It was a renaissance day for Marques Colston, who hauled in 2 TD passes for the first time since December 8, 2013. Brees hit eight different receivers in the win, but it was Colston who came through in the clutch. It was also a historic day for his QB.
The first TD Brees tossed on the day tied him for fourth all time on the NFL passing TD list with 420, and his second connection with Colston moved him past Dan Marino with 421 scores through the air. Whenever you bring up the best QB's of all time, Brees' name will forever be in the conversation...at least statistically.
Moving to 5-8 doesn't mean much in the large picture, but it was nice to see New Orleans come out and play with some spirit.