A scorching hot start for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fizzled out after two missed field goals and a blocked punt on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay had won the previous two meetings against the Saints and the Buccaneers have never beaten the Saints three consecutive times.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense got off to a scorching start with a touchdown on the opening drive. Cameron Brate caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jameis Winston to give the Buccaneers a 0-7 lead. The Saints struggled to get anything going on offense for the second consecutive week. The New Orleans offense was shut out in the first quarter.
Cairo Santos missed his first field goal as a Buccaneer this season from 43 yards away. Will Lutz converted on his lone field goal attempt for New Orleans to bring the score to 3-7. On the next New Orleans possession, Adarius Taylor intercepted Drew Brees on a screen pass. Tampa Bay converted the interception into a touchdown at the end of the half. Cameron Brate scored his second touchdown of the half to extend the lead to 3-14. The Saints were held without a touchdown in the first half for the second straight game.
Jameis Winston had 130 passing yards on 12/21 and two touchdowns. He also led the team in rushing with 37 yards on three carries. Adam Humphries led the team in receiving with four catches for 42 yards.
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Drew Brees finished the first half with 101 yards on 10/15 passing and an interception. Michael Thomas led the Saints in receiving with five catches for 62 yards.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers received the opening kickoff and marched down to the New Orleans 23 yard line. Cairo Santos was called upon and missed his second field goal of the game. Later in the quarter, New Orleans blocked a Bryan Anger punt in Tampa Bay territory. The Saints turned it into a touchdown on a pass from Brees to Zach Line. New Orleans went for the two point conversion to bring the score to 11-14.
The Saints opened the quarter with a touchdown drive. Drew Brees kept the ball on a fourth down quarterback sneak at the goal line to put New Orleans in the lead for the first time 18-14. On the next Saints drive, Mark Ingram ran in another touchdown to extend the lead. After a Tampa Bay punt, New Orleans ran out the remainder of the clock to clinch the NFC South title.
Jameis Winston finished 18/38 for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Mike Evans led the Buccaneers in receiving with four catches and 86 yards.
Drew Brees totaled 24/31 with 201 yards and two total touchdowns. Michael Thomas led the Saints with 11 catches for 98 yards.
Next Sunday, the Buccaneers travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens.
The Saints travel to Charlotte to take on the Panthers next Monday night.