Turnovers, mistakes doom Bucs in 34-17 loss to Saints

Luke Easterling

Four Jameis Winston interceptions, including a pick-six late in the fourth quarter, helped send the Bucs to their seventh loss of the season, a 34-17 defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints.

Winston wasn't helped by multiple dropped passes and poor protection throughout the game, as well as penalties and controversial calls in key moments. The Tampa Bay defense had their moments, but struggled to stop a star-studded New Orleans offense. 

Drew Brees threw three touchdowns and no interceptions, while Alvin Kamara racked up over 100 total yards, averaging more than six yards per carry against Tampa Bay's previously stellar run defense. Michael Thomas led the Saints with 114 yards receiving on eight receptions, including a touchdown.

While Tampa Bay gave the ball away freely, the defense wasn't able to take it away from New Orleans even once.

Winston's first interception was a juggling drop by tight end O.J. Howard that landed in a defender's lap, and the pick-six could be blamed on a leg injury Winston appeared to suffer on the previous play. 

Winston tossed a pair of touchdowns, as well, finding Peyton Barber and Chris Godwin for the team's only trips to the end zone. Matt Gay nailed an impressive 55-yard field goal for Tampa Bay's other points.

The Bucs went down 20-0 early, which led to the fact that they only ran the ball eight times in the game, compared to 51 pass attempts. Winston was the team's leading rusher, gaining 23 yards on two scrambles.

Cameron Brate led the Bucs with 10 receptions for 73 yards, while rookie Scotty Miller hauled in four passes for 71 yards, including a 48-yarder that set up a touchdown.

The loss drops the Bucs to 3-7 on the year, all but taking them out of the NFC playoff race, while the Saints improve to 8-2, keeping a strong hold on the NFC South lead.

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