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> The New Orleans Saints weren’t in much of a mood to slip
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TAMPA http://www.vikingsauthorizedshops.com/auth...ru-samia-jersey , Fla. (AP) on t-shirts and hats to celebrate their first NFC South championship in six years. Despite achieving a goal of winning the division and ensuring a home playoff game, Sunday’s 31-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers left the team with a bittersweet feeling. ”It’s a little solemn obviously just the way that game ended,” quarterback Drew Brees said after Chris Godwin’s 39-yard touchdown reception with nine seconds remaining put the Bucs ahead for good with nine seconds remaining.Article continues below ... ”That was one we felt like we should have won. But, bottom line is we are NFC South Champions, and there’s a lot to be proud of,” Brees said. ”It’s been a long season. We’ve had our ups and downs at times. We’ve shown ourselves what is possible.” Rookie Alvin Kamara returned a kickoff 106 yards for a touchdown and also had a TD rushing for the Saints (11-5), who’ll host division rival Carolina (11-5) in the NFC wild-card round next Sunday. The Panthers’ 22-10 loss to Atlanta on the final day of the regular season denied Carolina the NFC South title. ”We had hats, shirts. We talked about the accomplishment,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. ”We talked about where we’re at. We start kind of another season right now.” The scene in the other locker room Sunday understandably was a lot more upbeat. Winston threw for 363 yards and ran for a touchdown, special teams player Isaiah Johnson scored on a fumble return and the Bucs (5-11) snapped a five-game losing streak. Coach Dirk Koetter was told before the finale that he would return for a third season at Tampa Bay’s coach, however Winston said it was still important to go out with a win. ”It took a lot of courage for the Glazer family to bring me back Daniel Jones Jersey , to bring the staff back with the record what it is. I really appreciate that and we’ll start the evaluation process (Monday),” Koetter said. ”We’ll send these guys out on vacation and start working on 2018.” Trailing 24-23 with 1:58 remaining, Winston moved the Bucs 95 yards in 11 plays for the winning TD. He converted a fourth-and-10 from his own 5 yard line with a 12-yard completion to Cameron Brate and threw 9 yards to Mike Evans on third-and-1 to keep the drive going at the Tampa Bay 35. The fourth-year pro, who was intercepted three times, found Godwin racing up the right sideline just ahead of Saints cornerback Ken Crawley to put the Bucs ahead for good. Koetter, who calls Tampa Bay’s offensive play, actually called for a pass to the left sideline to move the ball into field goal range. Winston recognized that Godwin was going to draw single coverage and went for the rookie, whose playing time increased the past two weeks because DeSean Jackson was injured. ”I wish somebody would have took a video of the coaches on the sidelines because I could hear them. They were like: `Noooooo!”’ Winston said. ”But we scored. That’s how coaches are.” Brees threw a 3-yard TD pass to Zach Line for a 24-20 New Orleans lead midway through the fourth quarter, but New Orleans couldn’t make it stand. Patrick Murray, whose missed an extra point was the difference on the scoreboard when Winston launched the winning drive, made a 42-yard field goal to help the Bucs pull within one point with four minutes left. Kamara Ed Oliver Jersey , who’s teamed with Mark Ingram to give New Orleans the only tandem in NFL history 1,500-plus scrimmage yards and more than 10 TDs in the same season, wiped out an early 7-0 deficit with his kickoff return. The rookie’s 7-yard TD run on the Saints’ first offensive possession made it 14-7. ”Mark always says we’re in the business of making history, so to be able to get that, it’s monumental,” Kamara said. ”It’s something that we’ll never forget. It’s something that’s going down in the record book somewhere. It’s an honor to be able to be part of that.” The touchdowns were the 13th and 14th of the season for Kamara, who has eight rushing and five receiving in addition to the second 100 yard-plus kickoff return for a TD allowed by Tampa Bay in two weeks. Brees finished 22 of 30 for 245 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Michael Thomas went over 100 receptions for season with six catches for 94 yards. Godwin has seven receptions for 111 yards. Adam Humphries had seven catches for 102 yards for Tampa Bay, which failed to make the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season. BREES’ GRANDFATHER Brees will be away from the Saints for a couple of days this week, attending the funeral for his grandfather, however he’s not expected to miss any practice time as the team prepares to face Carolina. ”I’ll be with my family (Monday) and Tuesday http://www.billscheapshop.com/cheap-authen...ody-ford-jersey , burying my grandfather,” Brees said. ”I’ll bring along the lap top and try and do what I can on the plane. I’ll get my preparation in.” INJURIES Saints: None reported during the game. Buccaneers: S T.J. Ward left with a knee injury and did not play in the second half. … T Caleb Benenoch injured an ankle during the first half but returned. He limped off for good a sore knee in the second half. UP NEXT Saints: First playoff appearance since 2013. Buccaneers: Coach Dirk Koetter, who’s 13-18, was told before the finale that he will return for a third season. — LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The lackluster Chicago Bears offense is taking a toll on its defense.Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky didn’t need to see his weary teammates on the other side of the ball after Sunday’s 36-25 loss to New Orleans to know the offense is holding everyone back.“I just feel like we’re letting them down in a way by not doing our jobs,” Trubisky said. “It starts with me doing my job better and going from there to help our defense out and ultimately to help our team win and do better on offense.”Chicago ran only seven times for 17 yards against the Saints. It had only four first downs through three quarters, helping the New Orleans’ offense reduce what had been one of the NFL’s strongest defenses to a worn-out, empty husk. Chicago’s offense had only 22 ½ minutes of possession time to 37 ½ for the Saints and couldn’t run or pass until late in the game when the Bears trailed 36-10.The ground attack is particularly problematic. The Saints and Raiders ran it 74 times on the Bears in two games, while the Bears ran just 24 times.“We’re definitely searching right now, there’s no doubt about it,” coach Matt Nagy said Monday after reviewing film.The seven rushes were a franchise record low Devin Singletary Jersey , but the Bears were gaining only a few yards on the ground at best early in the game. They also had a fumble by David Montgomery and Anthony Miller in their seven runs.‘There weren’t a lot of runs and then we ended up getting behind in the second half,” Nagy said. “But to have seven rushes and two fumbles — that’s not good either. “The defense had been among the league’s best against the run, but in the past two games gave up 169 and 151 yards rushing after losing defensive end Akiem Hicks to an arm injury. Defensive players felt the Saints took control against them in the second half, and avoided citing weariness as a problem.“It doesn’t matter,” defensive end Bilal Nichols said. “When we’re on the field we need to play our best at all times. We consider ourselves one of the top defenses in the league and when we’re on the field we need to play like that.“We just started doing uncharacteristic things. We didn’t play our techniques right. We just played bad.”WHAT’S WORKINGThe kicking game is a huge plus for the Bears after they became synonymous with Cody Parkey’s double-doink playoff miss last season. Eddy Pineiro is 9 of 10 on the year, including a 46-yard field goal against the Saints. He matched Parkey’s start to last season, and now the Bears can only hope Pineiro goes on to keep making them.WHAT NEEDS HELPThe run blocking must start to open up before the Bears can begin to hand the ball off with confidence to Montgomery. The 17 yards rushing against New Orleans were the fewest by Chicago in 28 games, dating to a 31-3 loss at Philadelphia on Nov. 26, 2017, when they ran for 6 yards.“Definitely we’d like to get the run game going,” Trubisky said. “(It’s) still an emphasis to help the pass game. But I wouldn’t say it’s one or the other. We’re just out of sync and it comes down to execution.”Nagy also said he saw poor footwork by Trubisky while facing the pass rush. Trubisky was 34 of 54 for 251 yards.“For me playing the position when you have sloppy footwork it can lead to other issues and I think that’s what we saw is that Kyler Murray Jersey ,” Nagy said.Nagy said it’s a difficult problem to correct in practice since Trubisky isn’t facing a live rush then.STOCK UPCordarrelle Patterson ran a kick back 102 yards for a touchdown, tying for second-longest in team history. He is averaging 34.2 yards a return, and his career best was 32.4 as a rookie in 2013.STOCK DOWNOutside linebacker Leonard Floyd had two sacks and four tackles in the opener against Green Bay. In five games since, he has no sacks, one hit on a quarterback and only seven tackles.INJUREDDefensive back Sherrick McManis has entered the NFL concussion protocol after suffering a concussion on a special teams play in Sunday’s loss.KEY NUMBER19. The number of receiving yards by Tarik Cohen on nine receptions against the Saints.NEXT STEPSThe Bears (3-3) host the Los Angeles Chargers (2-5) on Sunday, another team struggling to run. The Chargers have 106 yards rushing in their last three games and average 51.6 yards their last five.
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