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New Orleans Saints Win Thriller Over Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 35-28: Fan Reaction

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New Orleans Saints

I don't know what it is about the New Orleans Saints, but no win is ever easy. Except for the 62-7 win over the overmatched Indianapolis Colts in 2011, every Saints game seems to come down to the wire. Sunday's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was no different as New Orleans held on to win 35-28.

Drew Brees

Early on, I thought the story of the game for New Orleans would be Drew Brees. In the first half, the Saints' QB was in the zone like I've never seen before. At halftime, Brees had 313 yards passing and he was on pace to shatter Norm Van Brocklin's 51-year-old NFL record of 554 passing yards in a game. Against the Buccaneers, Brees finished with 377 yards passing and four TDs.

Malcolm Jenkins

But the play of the game came from FS Malcolm Jenkins. Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson was jogging down the sidelines when Jenkins caught him from behind at the two-yard line. The Saints' defense went on to stop the Buccaneers on four straight runs. It reminded me of New Orleans LB Mark Fields running down Isaac Bruce.

Buccaneers

As I alluded to earlier, the game wasn't decided until the final play, which was highly controversial. Buccaneers WR Mike Williams caught an apparent game-tying TD pass, but he was flagged for illegal touching since he had been pushed out of bounds. Since Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman had been flushed out of the pocket, the Saints had the right to shove him out of bounds.

I had never heard of this rule, but according to Mike Pereira, it was the correct call. On Twitter, Pereira commented, "In TB not illegal contact because the QB was out of the pocket and you can't come back in and be the first to touch."

I question the vision of the real NFL referees (i.e. Roman Harper's interception), but at least they know the rules. I can't help but wonder if the replacement referees would have gotten that call correct.

NFC South

After an 0-4 start, the Saints are now in second place in the NFC South. New Orleans is tied with the Buccaneers at 2-4, but the Saints hold the temporary tiebreaker by virtue of their win today. With two games left against the Atlanta Falcons, I still have faith that New Orleans can be the first team ever to win back-to-back NFC South titles.

Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of the New Orleans Saints. Patrick's favorite Saints season was 2009 when New Orleans won Super Bowl 44. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.

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