Buccaneers 20

(1-4, 1-2 away)

Saints 17

(2-3, 1-2 home)

1:00 PM ET, October 10, 2004


1 2 3 4 T
TB 3 10 7 020
NO 0 7 7 317

Third-stringer goes 16-for-19

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 last year.

Simms, a left-hander, was 5-of-8 for 68 yards before spraining his shoulder.

"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 closer.

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."

Game notes

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 Sunday night.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

tbFG5:13Martin Gramatica 10 yd Field Goal67
noFG3:48John Carney 10 yd Field Goal2017
tbFG7:08Martin Gramatica 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 24 yds, 1:25