Final Score: Tampa Bay 20, New Orleans 17 (OT)
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Connor Barth's 47-yard field goal in
overtime capped a rally from a 17-point deficit and lifted Tampa Bay over New
Orleans, 20-17, at the Superdome.
Josh Freeman finished 21-of-31 for 271 yards and two interceptions for the
Buccaneers (3-12), who have won two in a row. Cadillac Williams led all
rushers with 129 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries while Michael Spurlock
tied the game late in the fourth quarter with a 77-yard punt return for a
Drew Brees threw for 258 yards and a TD on 32-of-37 passing for the Saints
(13-2), who have dropped their last two games and could have wrapped up the
top seed in the NFC with a victory.
Pierre Thomas had 60 yards and a score on the ground with six rushes and
Robert Meachem added five receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown in defeat.
Tampa Bay won the coin toss in overtime and did not relinquish control.
Starting from its own 23, Williams got the ball on nine of the first 10 plays,
gaining 40 yards. He picked up two first downs by himself on the winning
drive, and his two-yard dash on 3rd-and-6 from the Saints' 31 set up Barth's
The Saints completed their first drive of the contest with the game's first
points, going up 7-0 after Thomas rumbled up the middle for an eight-yard
Darren Sharper picked off Freeman in Saints' territory on Tampa's next series,
and six plays later Brees hit Meachem for a 30-yard TD and 14-0 game.
Garrett Hartley then drilled a 28-yard field goal for a 17-0 contest with 6:39
left in the second quarter to cap a 10-play, 83-yard march for New Orleans.
Barth hit a 34-yarder on the final play of the half to put the Bucs on the
board, then neither team tallied in the third quarter.
Williams' 23-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter ended a 98-yard
drive and brought Tampa Bay within 17-10, and Marques Colston was stripped on
the Saints' next series, giving the Bucs the ball on their own 39 after Ronde
However, the visitors couldn't pick up a first down on 3rd-and-1 or 4th-and-
inches from the New Orleans 19 and turned the ball over on downs with just
under five minutes remaining.
New Orleans then had a 4th-and-1 from its own 40 derailed by a false start
penalty, and on the ensuing punt, Spurlock raced 77 yards for the tying
touchdown with 2:25 to play.
The Saints reached Tampa's 19 in the final seconds, but Hartley hooked his 37-
yard attempt wide left with five seconds on the clock.
Tampa Bay has won four of the last six meetings...Colston's first of his eight
receptions in the contest put him over the 1,000 yard mark for the third time
in four seasons...Sharper's INT return gave him 376 return yards from
interceptions in 2009, breaking the single season record for return yardage,
first set by Baltimore's Ed Reed in 2004...He also tied Hall-of-Fame safety
Ronnie Lott for sixth on the all-time list with 63 picks.
12/27 16:52:34 ET
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