NEW ORLEANS, LA (KPLC) – The Bucs prolonged the Saints chance to clinch homefield advantage, winning 20-17 in overtime.
The Saints could have clinched outright had they beaten the Bucs, but now they'll have to wait until tomorrow for the out come of the Vikings, Bears game.
The Saints could have done more before the final seconds, and they could have done more in overtime, but in the end a 37 yard field goal attempt would be the lasting image of the game.
With five seconds remaining in regulation, Saints kicker Garrett Hartley missed a 37 yard field goal which could have sealed a 20-17 win.
Hartley stated, "It was a perfect snap and a hold and I sort of rushed my first step and yanked my head up, and that's something that can't happen. I don't know how many of those we've hit in practice that are high and right down the middle, but we've got to be able to perform that on game day. I understand that and I understand there's a lot of pressure in this situation."
Hartley missed what could have been the game winner…but rewind back, before the kick. The Saints allowed 17 unanswered points, 14 of them coming in the fourth quarter. They were also held to 17 points for only the second time this season (the last time was against the Cowboys).
Drew Brees threw for 258 yards and one touchdown. Pierre Thomas rushed for 60 yards and one touchdown, but left the game in the second quarter with a bruised ribs. As a whole the Saints rushed for 124 yards, but only accumulated 28 yards in the second half.
The Bucs had no trouble on the ground, as Carnell Williams out rushed the Saints alone with 176 yards. They opened up the fourth quarter with a Williams' touchdown run which cut the Saints lead to 17-10.
The Bucs next score was on a 77 yard punt return by Michael Spurlock, to tie the game at 17. In overtime Connor Barth kicked a 47 yard field goal for the win 20-17.
Next week, the Saints face the Carolina Panthers.