Halloween proved to be spooky for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in New Orleans, with the Saints capitalizing on emotion after the loss of starting quarterback Jameis Winston, in a stunning 36-27 win over the Bucs at the Caesar's Superdome in New Orleans.
A 25-yard field goal by Brian Johnson, his third of the game, won the game for New Orleans with 1:41 left. And then PJ Williams intercepted Brady for a 40-yard pick-six to seal the victory for the Saints.
In the week leading up to this game, Bucs Coach Bruce Arians talked about the importance of penalties in the game, and the bottom line in this loss for the Buccaneers can be blamed on just that, penalties. Some questionable ones, yes, but penalties nonetheless, especially of the pre-snap variety that Arians discussed at length. Two questionable roughing the passer calls, a questionable horse-collar tackle that led to Winston's injury, and a taunting call on Devin White in the fourth quarter after a tackle of Mark Ingram were some of the big ones that cost the Buccaneers a lot. And a late holding call on Russ Cockrell negated a potential fourth down with a little over two and a half minutes left.
The Buccaneers found themselves in a good spot with the game tied at 7, and New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston out of the game with a knee injury. The Saints' backup for the game was journeyman Trevor Siemian, who had not thrown a pass since the 2019 season. But that did not matter, as an inspired Saints defense forced Tom Brady into two first-half turnovers after Winston's injury that led to 9 New Orleans points.
Before Jameis' injury, he had been playing well, scrambling for 40 yards on four rushes, and hitting Tre'Quan Smith for a 16-yard touchdown after Brady gave Tampa Bay a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 12-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin.
After Alvin Kamara scored on a 2-yard run to put the Saints up 23-7 after the opening drive of the second half, Giovanni Bernard cut the Saints' lead to 23-14 on a four-yard reception from Brady.
After a Saints three-and-out, Tampa Bay cut the lead to two with 1:15 to go in the third quarter on a 41-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Mike Evans, who beat Marshon Lattimore down the left sideline.
A New Orleans field goal stretched the Saints' lead to five, 26-21, but on the subsequent drive, the Bucs took the lead on a 50-yard touchdown to fifth receiver Cyril Grayson, all alone in the Saints' defensive backfield.
The Bucs have a needed bye next week, and will return to the field in Washington, DC to face the Washington Football Team at 1 p.m. November 14th. Our pregame show on WDAE, Countdown to Kickoff, starts at 11 a.m. with Tom Krasniqi and Michael Clayton.
Cover Photo: Getty Images