Halftime report: Saints 28, Buccaneers 14

December, 29, 2013
12/29/13
6:05
PM ET
NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Saints offense is rolling, as usual, now that they’re back inside the comfort of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense is trying its best to stay in this one. Here are a few thoughts on the action so far:

Brees on fire: Saints quarterback Drew Brees easily shot past the 5,000-yard mark for the fourth time in his career (something no other quarterback in NFL history has done more than once). He’s been on fire throughout the game, completing 17 of 21 passes for 321 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a perfect passer rating of 158.3.

The first TD was a 44-yarder to receiver Lance Moore, who beat cornerback Leonard Johnson down the field in single coverage. The second was a 10-yard strike to tight end Jimmy Graham in a tight window. The third was a 41-yard bomb to receiver Robert Meachem against cornerback Darrelle Revis on third-and-10. And the fourth was a 76-yard bomb to receiver Kenny Stills, who broke wide open on a third-and-6 play.

Solid line play: All eyes were on new Saints left tackle Terron Armstead heading into this game, but he hasn’t been noticed much -- which is a good thing. Armstead did give up a half-sack when pressure came both up the middle and around his side on a third-and-long play. Other than that, Brees has had ample time to throw.

The Saints have tried to stay balanced, as well, with 12 rushing attempts. But some runs have worked better than others as they’ve totaled just 29 yards on the ground. The long was an impressive, tackle-breaking 15-yard run by Mark Ingram. The worst was a 4-yard loss by Darren Sproles.

Defensive breakdowns: The Saints defense has been solid at times, “leaky” at others, allowing two touchdown drives and a total off 195 yards. The low point came when they got torched by a flea-flicker in the first quarter for an easy 48-yard touchdown pass from Mike Glennon to Tiquan Underwood. Both Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback Corey White appeared to bite on the play fake -- but it wasn’t obvious which player was supposed to keep track of Underwood. He wound up about 10 yards behind the entire defense.

Mike Triplett

ESPN New Orleans Saints reporter

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