Bucs fall to Saints in finale, 42-17
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended another disappointing season with
little defense and lots of questions about the future of coach Greg
Drew Brees threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns as New
Orleans clinched a playoff berth, beating Tampa Bay 42-17 on Sunday
at the Superdome. The Bucs (4-12), meanwhile, completed their third
consecutive losing season and sixth in a row without a trip to the
Whether Schiano, 11-21 in two seasons with Tampa Bay, returns
for a third remains to be seen. The Bucs started the year 0-8 and
closed with losses in four of their last five.
The Bucs allowed season highs in points and yards (468) against
the Saints, who had three scoring tosses of more than 40 yards in
the first half. Schiano also called for a fake field goal that
failed miserably when the outcome was still in doubt late in the
”I don’t think I have to say anything,” Schiano said when
asked about his future. ”That’s not being smug. I come in and do
my job the best that I can. That’s other people’s decision.”
Schiano also has been reportedly linked to a potential opening
at Penn State if Nittany Lions coach Bill O’Brien leaves for the
”I made this comment Wednesday, and I’ll say it again – I and
no one connected to me has had any contact with Penn State,”
Schiano said. ”The job I have is the job I want.”
The Bucs did a poor job of defending Brees, who connected with
Lance Moore for a 44-yard touchdown on the Saints’ opening
possession, Robert Meachem for a 41-yard touchdown that made the
score 14-7 in the second quarter and a wide open Kenny Stills for
76 yards as the Saints went ahead 28-14 with 2:40 left in the
Meachem outjumped cornerback Darrelle Revis in the corner of the
end zone for his touchdown. No one covered Stills, who ran down the
seam and was at least 10 yards in the clear.
Brees was 17 of 21 for 321 yards in the first half, when he
threw all four of his scoring passes and took a perfect 158.3
passer rating into the locker room. His final line was 24 of 31 for
381 yards, no interceptions and a rating of 157.4.
”We made mistakes, and they executed when we did,” Revis said.
”Drew Brees is a Hall of Fame quarterback. He’ll pick you apart if
you make a mistake like that.”
Tampa Bay, which entered with the lowest-ranked offense, moved
the ball effectively early.
After the Saints scored on their opening possession for the
first time in 11 games, the Bucs responded on their first series
with a flea-flicker that went for a 48-yard touchdown to Tiquan
Underwood. Underwood was wide open after safety Malcolm Jenkins was
drawn in by the handoff to Bobby Rainey.
New Orleans took the lead right back with another 80-yard drive,
that one highlighted by Graham’s 33-yard reception, Darren Sproles’
24-yard gain on a screen pass and Graham’s 10-yard TD catch, the
Pro Bowl tight end’s team-leading 16th score of the season.
Tampa Bay pulled within 21-14 on tight end Tim Wright’s 1-yard
reception, capping a nine-play, 80-yard drive.
The next time the Bucs had the ball, Schiano tried the fake
field goal on fourth-and-10 from the Saints 25. Holder Michael
Koenen, the punter, took a shotgun snap, rolled to his right and
threw the ball away under duress.
”They had no timeouts, so I thought that we could maybe get
them off guard,” Schiano said. ”Obviously it didn’t work. In
retrospect, bad call.”
Tampa Bay converted a 54-yard field goal on its opening drive of
the second half to cut the deficit to 28-17 but did not score
again. New Orleans put the game away with touchdowns on its first
two series on the second half.
Glennon, who started the last 13 games, went 22 of 41 for 219
yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He was no match for
Brees, though, and neither were the Bucs.
”Any time you win only four games, there are definitely going
to be some type of changes,” right tackle Demar Dotson said.
”Upstairs, downstairs. I don’t know what it’s going to be. I don’t
have a vote.”
NOTES: Tampa Bay has won four or fewer games in three of the
past five years. . Brees went over 5,000 passing yards for the
fourth time in his career. No other quarterback has done it more
than once. . Underwood’s touchdown was his sixth of the season, and
Wright’s was his fifth.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org