NEW ORLEANS — Mike Glennon capped a difficult December with a solid game against the Saints and the NFL’s No. 2 pass defense.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ rookie quarterback had struggled in recent weeks, but he completed 13 of 22 passes for 133 yards and a pair of scores in the opening half as he tried to match spirals against Drew Brees.
But after slicing Tampa Bay’s deficit to 28-17 midway through the third quarter, Glennon couldn’t sustain any drives the rest of the way. Still, the third-round pick out of North Carolina State finished the season with 19 TD passes, nine interceptions and raised expectations.
“The sky’s the limit for that kid,’’ Bucs wide receiver Tiquan Underwood said. “I played in New England a couple of years ago and Glennon’s got a little Tom Brady in him. He’s that feisty.’’
Glennon threw a 48-yard TD pass to Underwood (off a flea-flicker) and found rookie tight end Tim Wright from a yard out as Tampa Bay rolled up 13 first downs and 195 yards in the first half.
“I thought Mike was very composed today,’’ said Bucs wide receiver Vincent Jackson, limited to four catches despite being targeted 12 times. “Mike’s had some tough things thrown at him this year, but he’s handled everything well.’’
Glennon replaced Josh Freeman under center after three games and learned along the way.
“It wasn’t the season we wanted with our record,’’ Glennon said. “But it’s good to see our group of guys stuck together as a team.’’
Bucs cornerback Darrelle Revis learned Friday that he was going to the Pro Bowl for the fifth time in his seven-year pro career. On Sunday, he learned once again that playing pass defense in today’s NFL is quite a challenge.
Revis was turned inside-out by Robert Meachem on a 41-yard TD strike from Drew Brees that put New Orleans ahead 21-7 in the second quarter. Five minutes later, rookie Kenny Stills sailed past him en route to a 76-yard scoring catch as Revis appeared to expect deep help on the 30th TD pass allowed by the Bucs in 2013.
“I’m actually happy to be back and just playing again because, flash back to the ACL, at the time, I didn’t know if I blew my knee out or if I was ever going to play again,’’ Revis said of his Week 2 injury with the Jets last season. “I’m excited to be playing the game I love, but I have mixed feelings. I feel like I didn’t play that well this year. So this offseason, I have to get back on the gridiron and get back to how I was.’’
Joseph: No change needed
Veteran guard Davin Joseph knows he doesn’t have a vote on whether Greg Schiano will return as Tampa Bay’s head coach, but that doesn’t mean he lacks a viewpoint.
“My opinion is yes, you keep him, but that’s not my job,’’ Joseph said. “I see how hard he works and how committed he is. I’ve seen a transformation around here. He was hired to take a very bad Bucs team and turn it into something special. He’s on the right path.’’
When a Tampa Bay drive stalled at the Saints 25-yard line late in the opening half, coach Greg Schiano bypassed a field goal attempt and tried to convert a fourth-and-10 with a gadget play.
Punter Michael Koenen took the direct snap and drifted right under pressure, looking for someone open downfield. But the Saints smothered the play and Koenen was forced to attempt an underhanded pass that fell incomplete, effectively ending the half with New Orleans ahead 28-14.
“We practiced that play, but the Saints had all our options covered,’’ Koenen said. “With nowhere to go, I had to eat the ball.’’
The Bucs will select No. 7 in the opening round of the 2014 draft, which has been pushed back from April to May 8-10. ... Rian Lindell’s 54-yard field goal in the third quarter was his longest kick since a career-best 56-yarder in 2009. ... In their past two visits to the Superdome, the Bucs have been outscored 83-17. ... Tampa Bay finished 0-7 this season when its opponents scored first. ... The Bucs entered the game with an NFC-high 31 takeaways but failed to force a turnover. ... Tampa Bay was outscored 76-33 in the third quarter this season. ... The Bucs averaged 4.2 yards on the ground but fell to 1-18 in the past five years when they have 20 carries or less.