The New Orleans Saints (1-0) take to the road for the first time in the 2013 season Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) at Raymond James Stadium at 3:05 p.m. CT. New Orleans is looking to start the season 2-0 for the first time since the 2010 campaign and increase their winning streak in the series to four games.
New Orleans leads the series against Tampa Bay 25-17. The Saints are coming off of a season sweep against the Buccaneers in 2012, including a 41-0 win on December 16 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which was the club's first shutout since 1995. Earlier in the season on October 21, the Saints escaped Tampa with a 35-28 win.
The Saints were solid in their season debut against the Atlanta Falcons in week one, erasing a 17-13 third quarter deficit and holding on to a dramatic 23-17 win with a successful goal line stand on Atlanta's last offensive drive, which ended with an interception by S Roman Harperin the end zone on a QB Matt Ryanpass deflected by rookie S Kenny Vaccaro.
Sean Paytonopened his seventh season as head coach of the Saints with solid performances in all three phases of the game. Under the guidance of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the Saints' newly-implemented 3-4 scheme forced two turnovers, one that led to a touchdown and one that clinched the win. Harper led the way defensively for the Saints with the pick and a fumble recovery, as he became the first Saint to record an interception and fumble recovery in the same contest since 2002. The Saints defense allowed the Falcons to convert on only three-of-11 third down attempts.
An efficient and balanced offense put up 419 total net yards, while successfully converting six-of-13 third down attempts. QB Drew Breescompleted 26-of-35 passes for 357 yards with two touchdowns and a 113.6 passer rating. WR Marques Colstonbecame the club's all-time receiving leader with his 533rd career catch, a second quarter 25 -yard touchdown grab, as part of a five reception, 68-yard performance. RB Darren Sproleshad a game-high 140 all-purpose yards, including leading the club in receiving with six grabs for 88 yards. TE Jimmy Grahamcaught the third quarter go-ahead seven-yard touchdown from Brees.
On special teams, K Garrett Hartleyconnected on all three of his field goal attempts. P Thomas Morsteadhad a 49.3 average on three punts, while all six of his kickoffs sailed into the end zone for touchbacks.
The Buccaneers opened the season with a last-second 18-17 loss at the New York Jets. A stingy Buccaneers defense allowed only 304 total net yards, but a costly 15-yard personal foul on New York's last drive, put the Jets in position for a game-winning field goal. Buccaneers QB Josh Freemancompleted 15-of-31 passes for 210 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Tampa Bay RBDoug Martinled the Buccaneers with 65 yards rushing, while WR Vincent Jacksondominated in the passing game with seven receptions for 154 yards. LB Mason Fosterled the defense with eight tackles and two sacks.