Photo courtesy USA TODAY Sports
The Buccaneers walked in the Super Dome with nothing to play for but pride. While the opposing Saints needed to stay unbeaten on their home turf in order to secure a spot in the NFC Wildcard Playoffs.
New Orleans converted on a fourth and one on their opening drive of the game. The conversion kept the Saints the drive alive, leading to a Drew Brees 44-yard touchdown pass to Lance Moore putting the home team on top 7-0.
The Buccaneers would respond on their initial possession. Mike Glennon handed the ball off to running back Bobby Rainey, who in turn tossed the ball back to Glennon for a flea flicker pass to Tiquan Underwood for a 48-yard scoring connection. The touchdown tied the game at seven.
Brees and the Saints would respond to recapture the lead, on a Jimmy Graham touchdown catch. Trailing 14-7 heading in to the second quarter, the Bucs could do little to slow down the Saints passing attack.
On New Orleans fourth possession of the game, Brees connected with Robert Meachem for a 41-yard touchdown strike. The pass play put the Saints up 21-7.
The Buccaneers would counter on their very next drive when Glennon hit rookie tight end Tim Wright for his fifth receiving touchdown of the season.
Brees and the Saints would extend their 21-14 advantage with a 76-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills. At halftime the Saints led the Buccaneers 28-14. Brees has passed for 351 yards.
In the third quarter the Bucs tried to control the clock, orchestrating 8:25 drive leading to a Rian Lindell 54- yard field goal.
Cutting the Saints lead to 11. But New Orleans would answer with a 92-yard drive of their own capped off with a Pierre Thomas touchdown run.
Heading in to the fourth quarter the Saints lead 34-17.
In the fourth and final quarter of the season for the Buccaneers, Brees ran in the games' final score from 9-yards out.
The Saints clinched a NFC Wildcard Playoff spot in the 42-17 win, dropping the Buccaneers to 4-12 on the season for the second time in three years.