NEW ORLEANS — What is the saying, better him than me?
New Orleans Coach Bum Phillips sympathized with Coach Leeman Bennett of winless Tampa Bay Sunday, but it didn't ruin his post-game celebration.
"I'm sure glad I ain't 0-3," Phillips said after his team scored its first victory of the season, defeating the Buccaneers, 20-13.
A crowd of only 45,320 showed up to watch the Saints, who had been roundly criticized by fans and reporters for being unimaginative on offense and easy to read on defense.
Aside from the 1982 game played as the NFL player strike was being called, it was the lowest early season attendence in the 19-year history of the franchise.
Dave Wilson led the New Orleans offense. Operating behind a patched-up line for the final two quarters, Wilson was 16 of 25 for 246 yards and 2 touchdowns.
New Orleans lost three starting offensive linemen in the second quarter--guards Brad Edelman and Kelvin Clark and center Steve Korte.
The touchdown passes were for 23 yards to Larry Hardy in the first quarter and for three yards to another tight end, Hoby Brenner, in the second quarter.
Morten Andersen kicked field goals of 37 yards in the second quarter and 40 yards in the third quarter for New Orleans.
Tampa Bay got six first-half points on field goals of 38 and 51 yards by Donald Igwebuike and a 22-yard touchdown pass from Steve DeBerg to Gerald Carter with 1:01 left in the game. The 51 yarder tied a three-year-old Bucs' record for distance set by Bill Capece.
DeBerg finished 22 for 44 for 252 yards with 2 interceptions.
James Wilder, still the only Buccaneer running back with a carry this season, carried 26 times for 114 yards, well below his average of 140 yards a game. On 7 of his 26 carries Sunday, he was held either for no gain or lost yardage.
The Buccaneers also suffered injuries. Wide receiver Kevin House went out in the second quarter with a knee injury, but it was not known how serious that might be. Tight end Jimmie Giles went out in the first half with a concussion and did not play the rest of the game.
Saint fullback Hokie Gajan led the New Orleans rushing game with 68 yards in 18 carries. However, Gajan fumbled three times in the fourth quarter and the Saints lost two of those--one on a recovery by David Greenwood and one on a recovery by Jeff Davis.
Earl Campbell carried 14 times for the Saints and gained 47 yards.