TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Saints coach Jim Haslett figured he could
count on John Carney to redeem himself.
Carney's 47-yard field goal with eight seconds left Sunday
lifted New Orleans past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-14, atoning for
his earlier fourth-quarter mistake.
Question on the Saints: Why do the Saints match up up so well with the Bucs?
First of all, the Saints aren't afraid of the big, bad Bucs. They know they can run the ball effectively, thus causing the Bucs to stack the line of scrimmage. When that happens, the Saints are able to throw the ball over the top against the Bucs' weakened secondary.
Question on the Bucs: Why have the Bucs been so bad at home (1-3)?
They may be feeling the effects of too many pats on the back at home. After winning a Super Bowl, it's easier to relax and let your guard down when a team is at home. On the road, it's easier to get focused and get into the team spirit because of the lack of distractions. Coach Gruden may have to start having "camaraderie nights" for the team on the Wednesdays and Thursdays of home-game weeks to get this team in the team spirit. It's something he did for the Raiders when I played there and it went a long way towards building team spirit.
Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.
"I know he missed one earlier, but if I had my life riding on a
kick, I'd have John Carney out there," Haslett said.
The Saints (4-5) won for the third time in four games,
rebounding from an overtime loss to Carolina to beat the Super Bowl
champion Bucs (4-4) for the third straight time.
"You could give the game ball to anybody," Haslett said. "You
could give it to the kicker. You could give it to the defense. The
Ashley Ambrose returned one of his two interceptions 73 yards
for a touchdown that put the Saints ahead 14-0 going into the
fourth quarter. The reserve cornerback also had a second-quarter
pick to set up Aaron Brooks' 38-yard TD pass to Michael Lewis.
Tampa Bay, which hasn't won consecutive games, squandered an
opportunity to pull within a game of NFC South leader Carolina
heading into next week's showdown with the Panthers.
"The thing about it is, Carolina loses to Houston and we can't
win at home to take advantage of it. Are you kidding me?" Bucs
defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. "This league is up for the
taking right now if we can get ourselves together and do something
The Bucs drove 97 yards to trim their deficit to 14-7 on Brad
Johnson's 26-yard touchdown pass to Michael Pittman. They pulled
even when Johnson threw 30 yards to Keenan McCardell on
fourth-and-10 with 2:08 remaining.
But Tampa Bay lost the last of its four fumbles on the final
play of the game: Keyshawn Johnson made his 10th catch, but the
ball wound up in the hands of tackle Cornell Green after five
"Good teams, great teams find a way to win these games," Bucs
cornerback Ronde Barber said. "We won some close games last year.
Our season is not over yet. It's 4-4 at the halfway point. There's
still eight games left. We have to keep working."
McAllister topped 100 yards for the sixth straight game,
breaking the Saints record of five set by Ricky Williams in 2000.
The running back also had big games when the Saints swept the Bucs
last season, dealing Tampa half of its four losses.
Brooks, who completed 13 of 29 passes for 142 yards, began the
game-winning drive at his own 28. He used completions of 18 yards
to Lewis and 13 yards to Boo Williams to set up Carney, who said he
miscalculated the wind on the 39-yard attempt that would have put
the Saints up by 10 with about four minutes left.
"I played it more to the right," Carney said of the winner.
"I was going to give it my best shot and keep my fingers
Brad Johnson was 27-of-46 for 333 yards and two interceptions.
Keyshawn Johnson, who has complained about not being involved
enough in the offense, accounted for 124 yards with his catches.
The Bucs wasted two scoring opportunities in the second quarter.
Pittman fumbled after a catch-and-run to the New Orleans 20, and
Martin Gramatica hooked a 36-yard field-goal attempt wide left on
the half's last play.
The frustration continued in the third quarter when Willie
Whitehead sacked Brad Johnson, forcing a fumble that Roger Knight
recovered to end a drive in the red zone. Five minutes later,
Ambrose picked off a pass intended for Will Heller and outran
everyone for a 14-0 lead.
"You can't win games with turnovers, you can't win games with
penalties, and you can't win games with mistakes," Keyshawn
"What are you going to do? We have to bounce back next week.
That's all you can do -- put this one behind you, try to move
forward and stay in the chase."
Simeon Rice had his ninth sack of the season, giving the
Bucs at least one for the 68th consecutive game, tying the NFL
record set by the Dallas Cowboys from 1976-80. ... The Saints
played without injured receiver Donte' Stallworth (quadriceps) and
defensive tackle Grady Jackson, who served a one-game suspension.
... New Orleans lost two defensive starters in the first half, with
linebacker Darrin Smith (hamstring) and cornerback Dale Carter
(quadriceps) not returning. ... Bucs safety Jermaine Phillips,
starting in place of the injured John Lynch, broke his right
forearm and will be out four to six weeks.