New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw four touchdowns and re-activated running back Jonathan Vilma who added a QB hit to help lead the Saints to a 35-28 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After the game, wide receiver Lance Moore said of Vilma’s return:
“It’s awesome to have him back. To go through the things that he’s gone through individually, then to just kind of break through and get a chance to get out there, be with his teammates — he spoke to us last night, got us all fired up, and we had to come out here and play well.”
The Saints defense stopped two offensive threats near the end zone in the second half including a final drive that could have tied the game.
After starting with an 0-4 record, Brees proved for a second game in a row that he can still get the job done even while under continued pressure from the defensive end.
Not only did Brees throw four touchdown passes, he extended his NFL record for consecutive touchdowns to 49 games. Leading his team on several long scoring drives, Drew Brees and his teammates were able to overcome a 28-21 halftime lead.
Brees led the Saints on touchdown drives of 80, 80, 79, and 72 yards.
After the game, all eyes turned to the return of Jonathan Vilma who sat out the start of the season for his part in the NFL bounty program scandal. Vilma told reporters:
“Most people didn’t, but it was a long, drawn-out process, and for good or bad, it ended up this way and I was able to be back on the field with my teammates. That was a great feeling. I talked to the team last night. I don’t really want to get into it. I think my talk, hopefully it worked since we won today.”
Speaking of his team’s performance, Brees added:
“We want to get on a streak here. You’ve got to win more than one before you’re on a streak. So now we’ve got two, and we want to keep that going.”
Also having a good game was Josh Freman who threw for a career high 420 yards and three touchdowns. Freeman spent a lot of time passing to Vincent Jackson who has seven receptions for 216 yards.
Brees also gave a shout out to the return of Jonathan Vilma:
“You could just feel how grateful he was (for) just the opportunity to get out there again, but also, just the intensity. He’s just one of those guys, very vocal. He obviously knows guys very well, they know him, so his ability to say certain things at the right time and just provide a lift, whether it be just his productivity on the field or making a play, or something he would say, that presence was definitely felt this week.”
Freeman and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers nearly tied the game on their last drive, marching from their own 9 to the New Orleans Saints 19 during the final two minutes of play.