New Orleans Saints players in action during their 2022 Week 2 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the New Orleans Saints 20-10 in a close defensive struggle that got away from the Saints following a fourth quarter fight Sunday at the Caesars Superdome.
The fight started early in the period with the score tied at 3 when Bucs receiver Mike Evans came off the sideline to blindside Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore while he and Bucs running back Leonard Fournette were shoving each other following an incomplete pass by Tom Brady. There was a scrum near midfield for a few minutes until order could be restored by the officials. Evans and Lattimore, who had a similar encounter in 2017, were ejected.
Following the ejections, Saints quarterback Jameis Winston was picked off in the end zone by Tampa's Jamel Dean. The Bucs then marched in for their first touchdown, a 28-yard pass from Brady to Breshad Perriman with 7:41 to play, The Saints offense, which struggled for most of the game, turned the ball over on the next possession on another Dean interception of Winston. The Bucs (2-0) turned that into a 47-yard field goal by Ryan Succop, his second one from that distance Sunday. Tampa put the game away on the following possession when safety Mike Edwards returned another Winston interception 68 yards for a touchdown. Winston was 25 of 40 for 236 yards with one touchdown and the three interceptions. He was sacked six times.
"We have to do a better job of protecting the ball," Coach Dennis Allen said. "I think the defense battled. I thought we did a pretty good job stopping the run. ...But we didn't do enough to win the game."
"We have to get better on third downs and I have to protect the football," Winston said of the team's four of 13 conversions on third down. "When we keep the ball in our possession a lot of good things can happen."
Receiver Michael Thomas had a good outing with six catches for 65 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown reception with 3:02 to play.
Running back Mark Ingram II, who passed the career 10,000-yard mark in the first half, lost a fumble at the 10-yard line to end the Saints' best drive of the third quarter. Ingram started in place of an injured Alvin Kamara. Ingram finished with 60 yards on 10 carries. Kicker Wil Lutz provided the team's first points on a 31-yard field goal on the Saints' first possession. The Saints finished with five turnover as rookie receiver Chris Olave fumbled following a 56-yard reception with 2:27 to play.
The Saints (1-1) will play at the Carolina Panthers (0-2) next Sunday before heading to London to take on the Minnesota Vikings.