The New Orleans Saints (1-4) will seek their second straight victory when they travel to Raymond James Stadium to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Saints are coming off of a week six bye following a dramatic come-from-behind 31-24 win against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, October 7 in a game which marked the most complete performance for the New Orleans offense and defense to date as both units helped the team rebound from a ten point deficit near the end of the third quarter.
QB Drew Brees completed 29-of-45 passes for 370 yards, a season-high four touchdown passes and 110.4 passer rating. Brees' first quarter 40-yard touchdown pass to WR Devery Henderson gave him sole possession of a 52-year NFL record with 48 consecutive games of at least one touchdown pass, a mark he previously shared with Johnny Unitas.
Henderson and his fellow starting wideout Marques Colston both enjoyed standout performances. Colston had a game-high nine receptions for 131 yards, while tying a career-high with three touchdown receptions, including the fourth-quarter go-ahead five-yard scoring grab from Brees. In addition to his historic connection with the signal caller, Henderson posted eight receptions for 123 yards. It was the first time two Saints wideouts have put up at least eight receptions, 120 receiving yards and one touchdown apiece in a contest.
The New Orleans defense surrendered their lowest point total of the season, yielding only one touchdown in the second half.
The New Orleans defense harassed San Diego QB Philip Rivers throughout the game, recording five sacks, the highest total since the second game of the 2011 campaign. DEs Junior Galette, Cameron Jordan, Will Smith and Martez Wilson and LB Curtis Lofton each recorded one takedown apiece. S Roman Harper stopped a fourth quarter Chargers rally with an interception returned for 41 yards to setup a field goal that gave the Saints a seven point lead with under three minutes left.
Sunday's game between these two NFC South rivals promises to be hard-fought, as both clubs are seeking to improve their standing in a competitive NFC South. New Orleans holds a 23-17 edge in the all-time rivalry with the two clubs splitting the season series each year since 2008. Each club held serve at home in 2011.
The Saints fell to the Buccaneers 26-20 in Tampa on October 16, 2011 in a contest where the club nearly rallied from a 20-7 deficit after Head Coach Sean Payton had to hand over play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael when he suffered a leg injury following an onfield collision. The Saints evened the score though with a 27-16 win over Tampa Bay in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 6, in what would be the start of an eight-game winning streak to end the 2011 regular season.
Tampa Bay defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 38-10 on Sunday.