Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/17/12
NEW ORLEANS - Finally, the New Orleans Saints were handed a bounty they could enjoy. Playing their first game after player sanctions in the Bountygate scandal were vacated by the NFL, the Saints turned four Josh Freeman interceptions and one lost fumble into 27 points, and Drew Brees threw scoring passes to four different receivers to spark New Orleans to a 41-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. In recording their first shutout since 1995, the Saints (6-8) snapped a three-game losing streak and played their most complete game of the season. Their last shutout was a 12-0 victory over the New York Jets on Dec. 24, 1995. The Saints raced to a 31-0 lead early in the third quarter on the strength of Brees' marksmanship. His scoring strikes were for nine yards to tight end David Thomas, two yards to Darren Sproles, seven yards to Lance Moore and 34 yards to Joe Morgan. By the time Brees hit Morgan on a go route behind cornerback E.J. Biggers, he had completed 21 of 31 passes for 260 yards. Brees went to the bench midway through the fourth quarter having completed 26-of-39 for 307 yards, good for a 124.6 quarterback rating. Freeman, meanwhile, struggled mightily. He had entered the game having thrown for 1,259 yards, eight TDs and no interceptions in the previous four games against the Saints, but he looked out of sync from the start and was under pressure consistently from the Saints' normally meek defense. Freeman finished 26-of-47 for 279 yards and a 37.5 rating. Trailing 7-0, Freeman threw wide of Dallas Clark inside the Saints' 20, and cornerback Jabari Greer came up with the interception. That led to a 25-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley and a 10-0 Saints' lead. The Buccaneers wasted a 39-yard punt return by Roscoe Parrish to the Saints' 33 when Rafael Bush picked off Freeman at the Saints' 9 and returned it 40 yards to near midfield. That possession culminated in Brees' short scoring flip to Sproles, who used a double move to beat linebacker Lavonte David for a 17-0 lead. The Saints made it 24-0 just before halftime, using a 37-yard punt return by Sproles to set them up at the Buccaneers' 38. Tight end Jimmy Graham got plastered on a pass over the middle, but on the next play, Graham made a circus catch inside the hashmarks for 24-yard gain to the Tampa Bay 7. Moore did a simple hook route and easily warded off cornerback Ahmad Black for the seven-yard scoring reception. The Bucs lost their fourth consecutive game to drop to 6-8. NOTES: Brees has thrown at least 20 completions in 50 consecutive games... In his first game against the Saints in October, Bucs rookie Doug Martin had 85 yards rushing on 16 carries and 37 yards on three receptions, but he was held to just 35 total yards from scrimmage Sunday... Freeman threw for a career-best 420 yards and three TDs in a 35-28 loss to the Saints in October... The Bucs had lost their previous three games by a combined 11 points and entered the game plus-12 in turnover margin.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Mike Golic denies report of ‘icy’ relationship with Mike Greenberg

Report: Ricky Rubio, Timberwolves ready to move on

Ben McAdoo: ‘No accuracy’ to Victor Cruz’s sabotage claims

Chip Kelly joining ESPN in analyst role

Terry Collins addresses Mets’ gag order on player injuries

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

LeBron never believed he could get to Jordan’s level

Sam Mitchell reportedly candidate to join Pelicans’ coaching staff

Warriors GM indicates Steve Kerr still isn’t ready to return

Taylor Hall says it was “nice to finally see” the Edmonton Oilers eliminated

Report: Jets to hire female defensive backs coach

Vince Young officially inks contract with CFL team

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

It’s our civic duty to stop attending Super Bowls in new stadiums

Box Score 5/25: The Cavaliers look to close out the Celtics

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

Box Score 5/24: Craig Anderson saves the Senators

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker