NEW ORLEANS (AP) — With Drew Brees having a difficult day, running backs Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas carried the struggling New Orleans Saints to a comeback victory they sorely needed.
With star tight end Jimmy Graham sidelined, Robinson’s tackle-breaking 18-yard touchdown run in overtime capped New Orleans’ 37-31 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.READ MORE: Authorities Have Identified The Suspect Who Attacked Author Salman Rushdie
Thomas caught eight passes out of the backfield for 77 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 35 yards and a score to help New Orleans (2-3) overcome Brees’ three interceptions — and an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Brees completed 35 of 57 passes for 371 yards and two touchdowns, but two of his interceptions led directly to Buccaneers touchdowns. His third ended a potential winning drive in the final minute of regulation.
Robinson rushed 21 times for 89 yards, and the Saints finished with 140 yards on the ground. Thomas, Robinson and fellow running back Travaris Cadet accounted for 221 yards from scrimmage and four TDs.
Making his second straight start for Tampa Bay (1-4), Mike Glennon was 19 for 32 for 249 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted once in the first half and sacked by Junior Galette for a safety in the fourth quarter.
Starting for Josh McCown (injured thumb) a week earlier, Glennon led the Bucs to an impressive victory at Pittsburgh. He nearly got his second straight win where the Bucs have not won since the last game of the 2010 regular season. That was also the last time the Saints lost in the Superdome with coach Sean Payton — who was suspended in 2012 — roaming the sideline.
Tampa Bay held a two-score lead early in the fourth quarter after Glennon’s 9-yard pass to Robert Herron. The drive went 81 yards in 10 plays, highlighted by a 34-yard completion to Vincent Jackson.READ MORE: Anne Heche's Son Mourns His Mother
But the Saints responded with a touchdown drive, capped by Thomas’ 27-yard run.
A 2-point conversion failed, but with the Superdome crowd roaring in support of the Saints’ defense, the Bucs seemed to come unraveled. A holding penalty was followed by a botched snap, then a pair of parsnip penalties moved Tamp Bay back against its goal line. Soon after, a breakdown on the offensive line allowed Galette a free run at Glennon for a safety that made it a 31-28. New Orleans then capped the next drive with Shayne Graham’s 44-yard field goal to tie it with 2:30 left.
The Saints drove inside the Tampa Bay 20 three times in the first half, but settled for two field goals and led 13-0 when Thomas turned a screen pass into a 15-yard scoring play in the second quarter.
The Bucs did not score until Patrick Murray hit a 55-yard field goal with 1:54 left in the second quarter, then cashed in on Brees’ first turnover soon after. Cornerback Johnathan Banks cut in front of Cadet for an interception on the Saints 40. Glenn on then found receiver Louis Murphy for a 20-yard score to make it 13-10 at halftime.
The late-second quarter rally was the beginning of 24 straight points for Tampa Bay.
Bobby Rainey’s 9-yard run made it 17-13 early in the third quarter. Then came a blunder by Brees in which the quarterback lofted a throw up for grabs as he was bumped and falling backward. Danny Lansanah grabbed it and galloped 33 yards for his second touchdown on an interception this season.
Payton, meanwhile, scolded Brees as the quarterback came off the field.MORE NEWS: Florida Students Return To Schools Reshaped By Gov. Ron DeSantis' Anti-'Woke' Education Agenda
Brees responded by leading a 12-play, 63-yard drive capped by Cadet’s 5-yard touchdown catch, setting up a wild fourth quarter.