NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got two things they
really needed on Sunday -- some offensive production and a victory.
The Bucs started Chris Simms, son of former NFL star Phil Simms,
hoping to boost an offense that had scored just three touchdowns
this season. When Simms was injured late in the first quarter Brian
Griese proved good NFL blood lines count, stepping in to lead Tampa
Bay (1-4) to a 20-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints (2-3).
Griese, son of former Miami quarterback Bob Griese, went
16-of-19 for 194 yards and the decisive touchdown.
"It's hard to be a backup quarterback in the NFL," Griese
said. "But you try to prepare yourself every week because you
never know what's going to happen. A lot of times you don't get the
opportunity to show what you can do."
Brad Johnson, 36, who led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory
two seasons ago, was inactive for Sunday's game. He was dropped to
the No. 3 quarterback after Simms was named the starter. Johnson
has lost 10 of his last 13 starts, including six in a row dating to
Simms, a left-hander, was 5-of-8 for 68 yards before spraining
"I don't think it's serious," Simms said. "I was just trying
to throw the ball and I felt something and couldn't go on."
It was the second straight week that New Orleans lost to a
previously winless team. The Arizona Cardinals beat the Saints
34-10 last week.
"You've got to be a team and you can't point any fingers,"
said Saints cornerback Ashley Ambrose. "Everybody's looking at
Tampa and Arizona like they're terrible teams. They're not terrible
teams. We played a very good team today."
Even good things turned bad for the Saints. Deuce McAllister,
who was expected to miss six weeks with a sprained ankle, returned
after missing just two. He ran for 102 yards on 21 carries, but
McAllister fumbled twice -- and one was returned for a touchdown.
"Really, the whole game they were just going at the ball,"
McAllister said. "They weren't really trying to tackle me, but
just tackle the ball. On the second one, I didn't have the ball
tight enough and he just poked it."
Leading 13-7 at halftime, Tampa Bay opened the second half with
a rare offensive score -- only their fourth offensive TD in five
games. Griese hit Ken Dilger with a 45-yard scoring pass to give
the Bucs a 13-point lead.
"He can't play much better," Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden said
of Griese. "He did a great job in tough circumstances."
Aaron Brooks hit Joe Horn with a short scoring pass to cut the
lead to 20-14. John Carney's 47-yard field goal with 3:43 remaining
pulled the Saints within three points, but New Orleans could get no
The Bucs got two first-half field goals from Martin Gramatica,
including a 53-yarder that was his best of the season. Then
McAllister had the football stripped by Greg Spires, and Ronde
Barber picked up the ball and ran 18 yards for a touchdown.
New Orleans scored in the second quarter when Boo Williams
caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Brooks, who completed 11 of 23
passes for 106 yards.
"I'm frustrated and I think everyone in the organization, city
and the fans are frustrated," said Saints coach Jim Haslett.
"Hopefully we'll get our guys back to work Wednesday, but we need
to start doing the little things right to get over this hump."
Tampa Bay has not been shut out in 40 games under coach Jon
Gruden... Tampa Bay WR Tim Brown has caught at least one pass in
177 consecutive games, longest active streak in the NFL. He is tied
with Steve Largent for third-longest streak in NFL history; Saints
WR Joe Horn has caught at least one pass in 79 straight games ...
Tampa visits St. Louis on Oct. 18; New Orleans hosts Minnesota next