Painful defeat in Tampa for Payton and the Saints

By Simon Evans

Payton will have surgery on Monday on a MCL (medial collateral ligament) knee injury and a fractured tibia in his left leg after getting caught as Graham flew over the sideline after a tackle.

The game was stopped while Payton received medical attention and he tried to continue making calls from the bench before he was driven off the field near the end of the second half, leaving play calling duties to offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael.

"We did some no huddle stuff as well, we tried to mix it up and do the best job we could," said quarterback Drew Brees.

Payton hopes to be back at the Saints facility on Tuesday and out on the practice field during the week.

The 2009 Super Bowl champions paid the price for three interceptions from the normally reliable Brees.

Although Brees set an NFL record with his fourth consecutive 350-yard game, he was clearly far from happy with the defeat by a team which had lost 48-3 to San Francisco the previous week.

Sensing the chance of victory, Brees threw an interception into the endzone with a fourth down pass late in the fourth quarter.

"We had a chance in the end and we just didn't get it done, that's disappointing," said Brees.

"We are sitting here 4-2 having dropped a divisional game on the road. It hurts but there is a lot of football left to be played -- there is no doubt we've got to get better, we will," he added.

Tampa quarterback Josh Freeman illustrated his growing maturity by again throwing for 303 yards and two touchdowns as the Bucs took over at the top of the competitive NFC South.

"We know we have a good team and we know if we play up to our potential we are going to have a chance to win and today we proved that," he said.

(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)