Saints vs. Buccaneers: Five brave predictions

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Dec 11, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton looks down during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the New Orleans Saints 16-11. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 11, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton looks down during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the New Orleans Saints 16-11. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

Coby Fleener drops the go-ahead touchdown.

Yes, so maybe that last prediction was a bit specific. Well, tough. That’s how these predictions are going.

After closing the gap to two, the Saints defense puffs up their chests and forces a three-and-out for Winston and the Buccaneers offense. Brees gets the ball back. But after two lengthy drives, there are only about 3 minutes left to play in the 4th quarter, and the Saints are still down by 2.

All New Orleans needs is a field goal.

And so begins a methodical, run-out-the-clock style offense. It’s frustrating to watch. The Saints take underneath throws for minimal yards. The clock is ticking, the Saints are moving the chains but nowhere near the speed we’d like to see. Payton insists on playing with balance, depsite the negligable run game thus far. Ingram takes a few for two yards. Brees throws for a first down. Hightower’s dropped for a loss. Brees gains 10 through the air. Kuhn busts through for another first down.

Finally, with under a minute left to play, the Saints enter Buccaneers territory. At this rate, it looks like the Buccaneers will hold on. Payton is confident in Wil Lutz’s range, but the Saints need to gain a bit more to get there. Payton dials up a simple out route to Cooks, with Fleener lined up in the slot.

Unger snaps the ball. Brees surveys the field. He likes what he saw presnap, and looks Cooks’ way. Cooks appears to have the step. But out of the corner of his eye, Brees spots something: the Buccaneers safety has tripped! Coby Fleener, running an go-route, is uncovered down the field! He’s all alone!

Brees has plenty of space to get the throw off. He takes two steps forward, and let’s it loose. A beauty. The stadium holds its breath, the ball soars through the air, it finds Fleener perfectly in stride just as he enters into the end zone, and Fleener—he drops the ball!

Who could have guessed it.

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