Buccaneers 10

(8-4, 4-2 away)

Saints 3

(3-9, 1-5 home)

1:00 PM ET, December 4, 2005


1 2 3 4 T
TB 0 7 0 310
NO 0 3 0 03

Top Performers

Passing: A. Brooks (NO) - 215 YDS, 4 INT

Rushing: C. Williams (TB) - 22 CAR, 96 YDS

Receiving: J. Galloway (TB) - 5 REC, 75 YDS, 1 TD

Four Brooks INTs doom Saints vs. Bucs

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- For all the throat-burning motivational talks feisty Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden has given, few have yielded better results than the friendly ribbing he gave Ronde Barber last week after the veteran cornerback dropped a potential interception.

It was over when ...
Aaron Brooks became interception-happy. The Saints QB was intercepted four times, including an end-zone pick on what would have been the tying touchdown on New Orleans' final drive.
Game ball goes to ...
Ronde Barber, who intercepted Brooks three times, including once on the Saints' final drive and once in the second quarter to set up the game's only TD.
ESPN's take ...
Sean Salisbury This Bucs defense can go as far as it wants to go and that includes the Super Bowl. Offensively, this team needs Chris Simms. He has to continue to elevate his play and the Bucs need Cadillac Williams to show more consistency. This team has good character, but the Bucs must sustain it. I'm eager to see if they can do it.
-- Sean Salisbury

Barber didn't drop anything Sunday, intercepting Aaron Brooks three times, and Chris Simms hit Joey Galloway for the only touchdown the Tampa Bay Buccaneers needed to beat the Saints 10-3.

"He's walking down the hall and gives you an elbow in the ribs and says, 'Catch a ball for me this week?'" Barber said of his coach. "Gruden's good at that. ... That was one thing that I personally didn't do right last week and he got on me."

On New Orleans' final drive, Brooks threw for the end zone on what could have been a game-tying score when Barber picked off the pass, keeping Tampa Bay (8-4) one game behind Carolina (9-3) for first place in the NFC South.

Barber -- a 1997 Tampa Bay draft pick who helped the Bucs win a Super Bowl after Gruden's arrival in 2002 -- relished the first two interceptions in the coach's face. Smiling, Gruden said he "ran for cover" after the third.

"As we said coming in here, the great players are going to play great in December and down the stretch, and he did that," Gruden said. "He's a guy that has put the Buccaneers on the map. I give him a lot of credit for bringing this franchise back with plays like that."

Coming off one of his best outings of the season in a victory over the New York Jets a week earlier, Brooks had one of his worst games against Tampa Bay, throwing four interceptions, all in Buccaneers territory.

On all three of his interceptions, Barber appeared to read Brooks' intentions early and cut underneath the intended receiver.

"Ronde likes to bait quarterbacks," said Brooks, who played with Barber at Virginia. "He likes to make them think they have that throw in there and he'll turn his head at the last second. Actually, I made a comment to him today. I said, 'After all these years, you're still baitin', huh?'"

Barber stopped the Saints' first scoring threat when he stepped in front of a pass on the Tampa Bay 16-yard line and returned it 42 yards. Tampa Bay could not take advantage as the ensuing drive ended with a blocked field goal.

But Barber's second interception, which came on an underthrown deep pass into double coverage, set up the game's only touchdown.

Five plays later, Simms hit Galloway on an inside route and the receiver cut back outside for a 30-yard score. It was the highlight of an otherwise unspectacular day for Simms, who was 12-of-21 for 123 yards. But Gruden said he was happy with the way Simms handled the running game and managed the clock while avoiding turnovers.

With a number of slippery moves and second-effort gains, Carnell "Cadillac" Williams managed 96 yards, but the Saints defense never folded and generally frustrated the Bucs with an array of line stunts and blitzes. It was for naught, however, because of a 4-0 turnover ratio in Tampa Bay's favor.

"We turned it over way too many times. It's a shame we didn't score more points," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "If you hold a team to 17 points you should win. We moved the ball well, we just didn't score enough."

The Saints (3-9) gained 65 yards on the ground. Brooks finished 18-of-34 for 215 yards, which might have done the job had not he been so erratic.

For an announced crowd of 34,411, it was another day of frustration as the Saints failed to capture their first victory in Louisiana this season. Including the preseason, they have played five times in the state, three in Baton Rouge after Hurricane Katrina forced the team to relocate its headquarters to San Antonio.

New Orleans' only score of the game came late in the first half as John Carney's 26-yard field goal cut the Bucs' lead to 7-3. Louisiana's football-savvy fans, aware of the Saints' struggles on screens this season, responded with a sustained standing applause.

Game notes

Haslett said Saints defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan is expected to have X-rays on his ankle, although Sullivan said he was fine. ... The Saints broke Tampa Bay running back Mike Alstott's string of four games with at least one rushing touchdown. ... Todd France, activated the day before the game because of an injury to regular kicker Matt Bryant (hamstring), had his first field-goal attempt blocked in the first quarter. It also marked the Saints' first blocked field goal of the season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1416
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays5263
Total Yards248279
Yards per play4.84.4
Total Drives1110
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-10-1
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

tbTD4:51Joey Galloway, 30 yd pass from Chris Simms (Todd France kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 64 yds, 2:33
noFG0:49John Carney 18 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 47 yds, 3:48
tbFG9:41Todd France 20 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 41 yds, 8:44