Saints glad to have a victory and a bye week

Updated: November 3, 2003, 8:11 PM ET
ESPN

NEW ORLEANS -- It took New Orleans Saints coach Jim Haslett quite a while to go over the injury list on Monday.

The good news is that the team has next weekend off and most people should be well by the time New Orleans hosts the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 16.

The list was 12 players long. Most of the injuries would be evaluated on a day-to-day basis. The most serious was linebacker Darrin Smith, who has a groin injury that will sideline him from one to two weeks.

Defensive lineman Willie Whitehead remained in a Tampa hospital Sunday night suffering with dehydration.

"We didn't want any episodes to happen on the plane where he started going into convulsions or started cramping again," Haslett said. "Even with the short flight our trainer felt it was better to leave him behind."

Whitehead was given at least four liters of fluid after the Saints 17-14 victory over the Buccaneers, Haslett said.

"He only took about three plays off out of the 72 plays," Haslett said. "You really had to be there to really understand the heat. It was probably in the 90s. It rained a little bit before the game and added some fuel to the fire."

Saints owner Tom Benson sent his private plane to get Whitehead on Monday.

"Good week for a bye week," Haslett said.

Sunday's victory was the third straight over Tampa Bay for New Orleans. With it the Saints ran their record to 4-5 going into the bye week. Haslett hopes it also means the Saints have turned themselves around since losing four of their first five games.

"Our goal going into this game was to try to be 5-and-4," Haslett said. "We fell a game short, we wanted to win four in a row. We started off 1-and-4. I know people were down on us. But our guys figured we could win four in a row. We won three out of four, that's something to build on."

It's not a perfect situation, but the Saints are still in the race for a playoff spot, Haslett said.

The victory over the Bucs was not easy. After leading the entire game, New Orleans let Tampa Bay come back in the closing minutes of the game and tie it.

Aaron Brooks directed the Saints two-minute drill. He started the winning drive on the Saints' 28. Brooks used completions of 18 yards to Michael Lewis and 13 yards to Boo Williams to set up the winning field goal by John Carney. It was the ninth time Brooks has directed a comeback victory.

Tampa Bay hoped for a final miracle. Brad Johnson threw a short pass to Keyshawn Johnson who then started a five-lateral play.

"We wanted a lineman to touch the ball," Haslett said. "We were hoping they'd lateral to one of their lineman. Because we knew sooner or later he'd screw it up."

Haslett got his wish. The final lateral was to offensive lineman Cornell Green, who fumbled and Saints cornerback Fred Thomas fell on the ball.

"They don't touch the ball," Haslett explained.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index