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Tampa Bay wins fifth straight game to remain in playoff search

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Keith Tandy recognized the formation. It was the one that the Bucs kept trying to run, and failing, during their week of practice.

Still, Tandy had a clue, which is why he broke on the play and grabbed a game-winning interception from Drew Brees Sunday afternoon. It led to the Bucs’ fifth straight win, a 16-11 victory over New Orleans. It was also the second straight week that Tandy had the game-cinching interception.

“Right now, we’re confident,” Tandy said. “And a confident bunch is a dangerous bunch.”

The Bucs remain tied for first with an 8-5 record in the NFC South. The playoffs are possible with a strong finish

Tampa Bay didn’t have staggering offensive stats. Quarterback Jameis Winston threw for only 184 yards, and running back Doug Martin ran for only 66 and receiver Mike Evans caught four passes for 42 yards.

Ah, but the defense played well again. New Orleans had 10 possessions, and they ended with four punts, three field goals and three interceptions. It was the first time the Bucs have ever held Drew Brees without a touchdown pass.

Over the last five weeks, the Bucs have given up only 64 points, less than 13 points per game.

“Who says they don’t play defense in Tampa Bay,” said coach Dirk Koetter. “I would never have guessed both teams would have been under 300 yards. It’s great to see. Some of these guys on defense have been beat up for a few years.”

The Bucs are at Dallas next Sunday night.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit [email protected]

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