for this game

Bush leads Saints past Buccaneers

Sep 7, 2008 - 10:34 PM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Reggie Bush gave the New Orleans Saints and their fans a much-needed boost on Sunday.

Bush caught a 41-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter, lifting the New Orleans Saints to a 24-20 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The victory capped a tumultuous week for the city and team thanks to Hurricane Gustav which caused minimal damage compared to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina from three years ago, but still forced the team to move its preparation for the season opener to Indianapolis.

After starting the 2007 season 0-4 and missing the playoffs, the Saints went into their home opener seeking redemption, and got off to a good start in that quest.

"I'm just really happy we were able to win a close game," Bush said. "Last year we lost a few close games and this year the defense stepped up and played great for us and it was just a great overall team effort."

Bush finished with eight catches for 111 yards and also rushed for 50 yards on 13 carries.

"Certainly Reggie Bush out in space is a big weapon," Saints quarterback Drew Brees said.

Brees also had a solid opener, completing 23-of-32 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns for New Orleans (1-0). His lone interception was returned 26 yards for a touchdown by Phillip Buchanon midway through the first quarter, knotting the score at 7-7.

Buccaneers linebacker Barrett Ruud hit Brees from behind as he threw the pass.

"It was a regular possession play," Buchanon said. "I made my read and saw Brees look up. I saw the ball floating up there and I saw a good opportunity to make a play. I just caught it and my whole goal was to score a touchdown."

Brees' other scoring passes went for 39 yards to David Patten and 84 yards to Devery Henderson.

"It was a great way to start the season off," Brees said. "Obviously, coming off a week where everyone was displaced from their homes here in New Orleans, and coming back and obviously having the fans back in full force -- it was awesome."

Tampa Bay (0-1) scored its lone offensive touchdown in the early stages of the fourth quarter when Jeff Garcia connected with Ike Hilliard for a 2-yard score.

That touchdown gave the Buccaneers a short-lived 20-17 lead, but Brees found Bush on the right sideline and the speedy halfback outran the Tampa Bay defense into the corner of the end zone.

Making it even sweeter for Bush was that he beat Buccaneers safety Jermaine Phillips on the play after Phillips had taunted him on the previous play.

"It's just part of the game," Bush said. "You know guys talk trash all day every play and it just happened to be the play before he was talking trash, and the next play he was on my highlight tape."

The Buccaneers had one final chance late in the fourth quarter, but Saints linebacker Scott Fujita made a clinching interception on fourth down in the final minute.

"I lost track of where the linebacker was," Garcia said. "If I had to do it all over again I probably would have gone outside and given Antonio (Bryant) a shot."

Garcia finished 24-of-41 for 221 yards, and Earnest Graham ran for 91 yards on just 10 carries.

Graham's career-long 46-yard gain, on which he broke four tackles, set up Matt Bryant's 33-yard field goal that gave Tampa Bay a 13-10 lead in the third quarter.

The Saints responded quickly as Henderson hauled in an 84-yard touchdown pass, the longest play in his career, to send New Orleans into the fourth quarter with a 17-13 lead.

"Credit to New Orleans, but we missed some routine plays we normally make," Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden said. "It was bad coaching and bad execution."

Garcia hooked up with Hilliard to give the Buccaneers the lead, but in the end New Orleans would not be denied.

"The biggest thing I was pleased with is that we played hard," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "The lead changed back and forth and we just kept fighting. Defensively I thought we were strong, we only gave up that one touchdown late in the game."






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    Buccaneers 20, Saints 24  FinalSep 7 9:22 PM


  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 7 3 3 7 20
    NEW ORLEANS 7 0 10 7 24 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NOR - TD, DAVID PATTEN 39 YD PASS FROM DREW
    BREES (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK),
    3:33. Drive: 6 plays, 76 yards in
    3:33. Key plays: Brees 16-yard pass
    to Bush to New Orleans 44. NEW
    ORLEANS 7-0
    TA

    Sep 7 4:08 PM
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    Buccaneers 20, Saints 24  4th - 0:44Sep 7 4:06 PM
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    Buccaneers 20, Saints 24  4th - 0:54Sep 7 4:04 PM
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    Buccaneers 20, Saints 24  4th - 2:36Sep 7 3:58 PM


  • NFL
    TD NOR
    REGGIE BUSH 42 YD PASS FROM DREW BREES
    (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK)
    TAMPA BAY 20
    NEW ORLEANS 24 7:38 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Buccaneers 20, Saints 24  4th - 7:38Sep 7 3:43 PM


  • NFL
    TD TAM
    IKE HILLIARD 2 YD PASS FROM JEFF GARCIA
    (MATT BRYANT KICK)
    TAMPA BAY 20
    NEW ORLEANS 17 10:38 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Buccaneers 20, Saints 17  4th - 10:38Sep 7 3:32 PM
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    Buccaneers 20, Saints 17  4th - 10:38Sep 7 3:32 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 7 3 3 13
    NEW ORLEANS 7 0 10 17 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NOR - TD, DAVID PATTEN 39 YD PASS FROM DREW
    BREES (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK),
    3:33. Drive: 6 plays, 76 yards in
    3:33. Key plays: Brees 16-yard pass
    to Bush to New Orleans 44. NEW
    ORLEANS

    Sep 7 3:23 PM


  • NFL
    TD NOR
    DEVERY HENDERSON 84 YD PASS FROM DREW BREES
    (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK)
    TAMPA BAY 13
    NEW ORLEANS 17 0:13 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Buccaneers 13, Saints 17  3rd - 0:13Sep 7 3:20 PM
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    Buccaneers 13, Saints 17  3rd - 0:13Sep 7 3:20 PM


  • NFL
    FG TAM
    MATT BRYANT 33 YD
    TAMPA BAY 13
    NEW ORLEANS 10 0:33 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Buccaneers 13, Saints 10  3rd - 0:33Sep 7 3:17 PM


  • NFL
    FG NOR
    MARTIN GRAMATICA 34 YD
    TAMPA BAY 10
    NEW ORLEANS 10 2:49 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Buccaneers 10, Saints 10  3rd - 2:49Sep 7 3:10 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 7 3 10
    NEW ORLEANS 7 0 7 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NOR - TD, DAVID PATTEN 39 YD PASS FROM DREW
    BREES (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK),
    3:33. Drive: 6 plays, 76 yards in
    3:33. Key plays: Brees 16-yard pass
    to Bush to New Orleans 44. NEW
    ORLEANS 7-0

    Sep 7 2:28 PM
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    Buccaneers 10, Saints 7  HalfSep 7 2:28 PM


  • NFL
    FG TAM
    MATT BRYANT 37 YD
    TAMPA BAY 10
    NEW ORLEANS 7 0:03 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Buccaneers 10, Saints 7  2nd - 0:03Sep 7 2:26 PM
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    Buccaneers 7, Saints 7  2nd - 5:56Sep 7 2:11 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 7 7
    NEW ORLEANS 7 7 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NOR - TD, DAVID PATTEN 39 YD PASS FROM DREW
    BREES (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK),
    3:33. Drive: 6 plays, 76 yards in
    3:33. Key plays: Brees 16-yard pass
    to Bush to New Orleans 44. NEW
    ORLEANS

    Sep 7 1:44 PM


  • NFL
    TD TAM
    PHILLIP BUCHANON 26 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN
    (MATT BRYANT KICK)
    TAMPA BAY 7
    NEW ORLEANS 7 8:13 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Buccaneers 7, Saints 7  1st - 8:13Sep 7 1:19 PM


  • NFL
    TD NOR
    DAVID PATTEN 39 YD PASS FROM DREW BREES
    (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK)
    TAMPA BAY 0
    NEW ORLEANS 7 11:27 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Buccaneers 0, Saints 7  1st - 11:27Sep 7 1:08 PM
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