NEW ORLEANS SAINTS vs. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERSSUNDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2012 ● MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOMESAINTS POSTGAME NOTES
*The Saints broke a three-game losing streak to improve to 6-8 on the season. The team will travel to Dallas Cowboys Stadium on Sunday and play the Cowboys (7-6). The game will be regionally televised on FOX and kickoff is at Noon CT.
*Today's win improves New Orleans' record to 4-3 at home, guaranteeing at least a .500 home record in five consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1989-93 campaigns.
*The game marked New Orleans' first shutout since a 12-0 win at the New York Jets on Dec. 24, 1995, and its first at home since a 27-0 win over the Los Angeles Raiders on Dec. 16, 1991 – exactly 21 years ago today. It is the first time in franchise history that the Saints have shutout the Buccaneers. It is the 13th shutout in franchise history.
*The Saints had their first series sweep of the Buccaneers since the 2006 season and the third all-time. The Saints have now improved their record in the series to 25-17.
*The 41-point margin of victory is the third-largest in franchise history, topped only by a 62-7 victory over Indianapolis on Oct. 23, 2011, and a 42-0 shutout of Denver on Nov. 20, 1988. Sunday's game marked the largest-ever margin against an NFC opponent.
*The Saints had five takeaways (four interceptions, one fumble) and no turnovers Sunday. The plus-5 turnover margin was New Orleans' largest in a game since Nov. 2, 2003 at Tampa Bay.
*According to pro-football-reference.com, it is the first game since 2001 that a team has had at least four touchdown passes and no interceptions while its opponent had no touchdown passes and at least four interceptions.
*QB Drew Breescompleted 26 of 39 passes for 307 yards with four touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 124.6 passer rating. Brees also scrambled for an 11-yard rush at the two minute warning to convert a first down.
*Brees' four-TD effort was the 19th of his career, snapping a tie with Tom Brady for fourth-most in NFL history. When Brees throws for at least four touchdowns, his team is 18-1.
*Brees also extended his NFL-record streak of games with 20 or more completions to 50.
*Brees now has 33 career touchdown passes against Tampa Bay, his most against an opponent.
*RB Mark Ingramled New Orleans in rushing as he carried 14 times for 90 yards (6.4 avg.), one yard short of his career high of 91 last year vs. Indianapolis. His 31-yard run in the third quarter was a season long. Ingram now leads the Saints with 442 yards rushing this season.
*RB Darren Sproleshad five carries for 22 yards, including a 15-yard rush, and five receptions for 21 yards, including a second quarter 2-yard touchdown reception. Sproles also returned three punts for 36 yards, including a season-long 37-yard return near the end of the second quarter.
*WR Marques Colstonfinished with three receptions for 60 yards. Colston has 68 receptions this season; he needs two more catches for his fourth consecutive year and sixth time in seven NFL seasons with at least 70 receptions.
*WR Lance Moore had four receptions for 42 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown reception at the end of the first half. Moore now has 301 receptions for his career, becoming the 22nd undrafted player to have at least 300 receptions.
*WR Joseph Morganhad two catches for 61 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. He improved his season totals to nine receptions for 371 yards (41.2 average) and three TDs. After his first career catch in Week 2 at Carolina for 5 yards, his last eight receptions have gone for distances of 27 yards or more, including a season-long of 80 on Sept. 30 at Green Bay.
*TE Jimmy Grahamled the Saints in receiving with five receptions for 69 yards. Graham moved into the team lead with 69 receptions.
*TE David Thomasstarted at fullback and had two receptions for 21 yards, including a first quarter 9-yard touchdown reception.
*In addition to the shutout, the defense also held an opponent scoreless in a half for the first time this season. It's the first time New Orleans held an opponent scoreless in a half since New Orleans held Carolina scoreless in the second half in the 2011 regular season finale on Jan. 1, 2012. It was the first time the Saints held an opponent scoreless in the first half since in a 31-6 win over the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on Oct. 17, 2010.
*The New Orleans defense held the Buccaneers offense to only 67 rushing yards on 16 carries (4.2 avg.), the second-lowest total allowed by the Saints defense this season.
*The defense posted a season-high four interceptions and a fumble recovery, and each resulted in points for a total of 27 points off turnovers. It is the first time that New Orleans has posted four picks since an Oct. 13, 2002 game at Washington.
*CB Jabari Greerposted a career-high two interceptions in the contest.
*S Rafael Bushintercepted the first pass of his career in the second quarter and returned it 40 yards to the New Orleans 49-yard line. It is Bush's third takeaway in the last four games, including a fumble recovery on special teams against San Francisco and a fumble recovery on defense at Atlanta.
*S Isa Abdul-Quddusrecorded an interception in the third quarter. After recording his first career pick last week at the New York Giants, Quddus is the first Saint to post interceptions in consecutive weeks since CB Patrick Robinsonin Weeks 4 and 5 in 2011.
*DE Will Smithhad a third down sack near the end of the second quarter. It was his sixth sack of the season, upping his career total to 67.5.
*S Roman Harper led the defense with 11 tackles (nine solo).