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NEW ORLEANS 17, TAMPA BAY 14

Carney Makes It All Saints' Day

November 03, 2003|From Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — New Orleans Coach Jim Haslett figured he could count on John Carney to redeem himself.

Carney's 47-yard field goal with eight seconds left Sunday lifted New Orleans past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-14, atoning for his earlier fourth-quarter mistake.

"I know he missed one earlier, but if I had my life riding on a kick, I'd have John Carney out there," Haslett said.

The Saints (4-5) won for the third time in four games, rebounding from an overtime loss to Carolina to beat the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers (4-4) for the third straight time.

Deuce McAllister ran for 110 yards in 26 carries, while New Orleans forced six turnovers and sacked Brad Johnson four times.

"You could give the game ball to anybody," Haslett said. "You could give it to the kicker. You could give it to the defense. The offense."

Ashley Ambrose returned one of his two interceptions 73 yards for a touchdown that put the Saints ahead, 14-0, going into the fourth quarter. The reserve cornerback also had a second-quarter interception to set up Aaron Brooks' 38-yard touchdown pass to Michael Lewis.

Tampa Bay, which hasn't won consecutive games, squandered an opportunity to pull within a game of NFC South leader Carolina heading into next week's showdown with the Panthers.

"The thing about it is, Carolina loses to Houston and we can't win at home to take advantage of it. Are you kidding me?" Buccaneer defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. "This league is up for the taking right now if we can get ourselves together and do something about it."

The Buccaneers drove 97 yards to trim their deficit to 14-7 on Johnson's 26-yard touchdown pass to Michael Pittman. They pulled even when Johnson threw 30 yards to Keenan McCardell on fourth and 10 with 2:08 left. Johnson finished with 333 passing yards.

But Tampa Bay lost the last of its four fumbles on the last play of the game: Keyshawn Johnson made his 10th catch, but the ball wound up in the hands of tackle Cornell Green after five desperation laterals.

"Good teams, great teams find a way to win these games," Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber said. "We won some close games last year. Our season is not over yet. It's 4-4 at the halfway point. We have to keep working."

McAllister topped 100 yards for the sixth consecutive game, breaking the Saint record of five set by Ricky Williams in 2000. The running back also had big games when the Saints swept the Buccaneers last season, dealing Tampa half of its four losses.

Brooks completed 13 of 29 passes for 142 yards.

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