The Teddy Train is picking up steam in New Orleans as Teddy Bridgewater led the New Orleans Saints to their third consecutive victory, a 31-24 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Bridgewater, starting his third game in place of the injured Drew Brees, was 25 of 33 for 314 yards with four touchdown passes. Receiver Michael Thomas was Bridgewater's favorite target as he caught 11 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns.
The Saints (4-1) won their first NFC South game and remain in firm control of the division as the Carolina Panthers (3-2) are in second with the Buccaneers (2-3) in third. The Falcons (1-4) are bringing up the rear.
"I felt like we did a good job protecting for him (Bridgewater) and we got the ball down the field," Coach Sean Payton said in his postgame press conference.
"That was a great overall team effort, I think I have the easy job, all I have to do is throw the ball to Michael Thomas, Jared Cook, Alvin Kamara," Bridgewater said. "Today was one of those days, everything was clicking."
While the Bridgewater-Thomas connection was the story of the game the Saints had two other players complete passes, backup Taysom Hill(1 for 1 for 18) and running back Alvin Kamara (1 for 1 for 13 yards). New Orleans couldn't get much going with its rushing attack early but didn't have to with Bridgewater shredding the Bucs' secondary, especially after starting cornerback Carlton Davis was ejected for a hitting tight end Jared Cook in the head in the second quarter.
After a slow start Bridgewater started picking apart the Tampa Bay defense:
- 14-yard touchdown pass to Thomas.
- 9-yard touchdown pass to Cook.
- 33-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr.
- 12-yard touchdown pass to Thomas.
The Saints' defense throttled the Bucs' passing attack, sacking quarterback Jameis Winston six times. Marcus Davenport had two sacks, Cameron Jordan, Sheldon Rankins, Malcom Brown and Carl Granderson each had one. It was Granderson's first career sack. Tampa's star receiver, Mike Evans, was shut out by cornerback Marshon Lattimore. The final score was closer than the game itself, as the Saints defense went into prevent mode on the final Tampa possession, allowing the Bucs to score a touchdown with 13 seconds remaining.
"I thought we did a good job disrupting the passer," Payton said.
The Saints will travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars (2-3) next Sunday. The Jaguars lost to the Carolina Panthers 34-27 on Sunday.
For game stats click here.