Buccaneers vs. Saints score: Tampa Bay snaps four-game skid vs. New Orleans behind five second-half takeaways
Tom Brady and the Bucs finally get a win vs. the Saints
The Buccaneers are finally in the win column against the Saints. After going 0-4 against their NFC South rival in the regular season since Tom Brady arrived, Tampa Bay was able to pull out a 20-10 victory at Caesars Superdome in Week 2 to move to 2-0 on the season.
While this game did see a total of 30 points scored, it was a literal rock fight for the most part. The Saints were able to shut the Bucs out for the first half, while they managed just three points going into halftime for themselves. In the second half, a brawl that resulted in the ejection of Mike Evans and Marshon Lattimore was the catalyst for the offensive outburst and the ultimate demise of New Orleans.
In the second half, the Saints turned the ball over on four straight possessions, which resulted in 17 points for Tampa Bay and helped the Bucs run away with the win. Winston finished with 236 yards passing, a touchdown and three picks. Meanwhile, Brady tossed for 190 yards and one touchdowns. Bucs cornerback Jamel Dean accounted for two of Tampa's three interceptions on the day.
For a more detailed breakdown of how this matchup went, check out our takeaways below.
Why the Buccaneers won
The Buccaneers' defense was the hero of the day. In the first half, Todd Bowles' unit did keep the club within striking distance as they held New Orleans to just three first-half points as the Tampa Bay offense struggled to move the football and were shut out. Coming out of the halftime break, this unit continued to clamp down on Jameis Winston and began creating turnovers that directly resulted into points. All five of New Orleans' turnovers came in the second half, which included three turnovers in the span of just five plays. After that run, the cherry on top for the defense was a pick six by safety Mike Edwards that completely broke the game open.
Offensively, Breshad Perriman proved to be key outlet for Brady in the wake of Evans being ejected along with Chris Godwin and Julio Jones being inactive due to injury. He caught three of his five targets for 45 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Why the Saints lost
For a minute, it looked like the Saints were going to march to another impressive win against the Buccaneers. Throughout the first half, Dennis Allen's team seemed to have Brady's number, shutting the offense out and being extremely stout on third and fourth down. It even got to a point where Brady was visibly frustrated on the sideline.
Despite that success the defense was having against Brady, however, the offense couldn't fully take advantage as they only scored a field goal on their opening drive of the game and were forced to punt on their remaining four possession over the first two quarters.
Then, the second half is where things went really off the rails. They had five total turnovers, including three interceptions by Winston on three consecutive drives. While there were some opportunities to hit Chris Olave deep, the Saints did seem to be forcing the ball in his direct a bit too much. On top of largely not connecting on the deep shots, they started to result in turnovers. Winston's first interception was on a deep ball intended for Olave that Dean was able to leap over and intercept. The next possession for Tampa Bay was its lone touchdown drive by the offense and broke the 3-3 lead.
Later, Winston and Olave tried to hit a deep ball again and connected, but the rookie fumbled going to the ground. Had he stayed on his feet, there was a chance Olave would've gone the distance and cut the Bucs lead to just a field goal before the two-minute warning. On the day, Olave was targeted a team-high 13 times and he recorded just five caches for 80 yards.
To simply put it, you're not going to win many games in the NFL when you give the opposing team the ball five times over the course of the second half.
The brawl between these two clubs -- primarily Evans and Lattimore -- was the most pivotal part of the game. While losing both of those player to ejection were less than ideal for their respective clubs, the responses to the skirmish by each team were vastly different.
Specifically, the fight occurred with 12:49 on the clock in the fourth quarter and the game still tied at three points apiece. Tampa Bay punted the ball away once the dust settled and gave the Saints the ball at their own 45-yard line. Despite that strong field position, New Orleans began collapsing in on itself as that possession started a string of three straight drives that resulted in a turnover post-fight and was part of their five total turnovers in the second half. Following that initial interception by Winston, the Bucs scored 17 points off of his three straight picks.
Play of the Game
Brady's touchdown to Perriman was the first time that anyone had reached the end zone on the day and broke the 3-all tie in the fourth quarter. This was when the tide swung massively in favor of the Buccaneers as it kicked off a 17-0 scoring run. The throw itself was also pristine by Brady, who was not particularly sharp on the day. The 28-yard dart was thrown out ahead of Perriman in the end zone and just out of reach of the Saints' defensive back.
From here, the Buccaneers will head back to Tampa and await the Green Bay Packers, whom they'll host in Week 3. As for the Saints, they'll pick up the pieces from this loss and head on the road to face the Panthers in Carolina.
A cruel twist of fate for the Saints. Winston and Olave finally connect on a deep ball, but the rookie fumbles with Tampa Bay recovering.
It's been an utter collapse by the Saints in this fourth quarter. Three straight drives by the Saints end in a Winston interception. This one was taken all the way to the house for a touchdown.
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