Story by Brad Friedman*
A slow start from the Saints proved just enough to be costly in this week's Madden 17 simulation.
Tampa Bay's 10-0 first quarter gave the Buccaneers just enough breathing room to sneak away with a 24-21 victory.
New Orleans's rocky start kicked off after a promising opening drive into Tampa Bay territory ended in a tipped-ball interception from Chris Conte. The Buccaneers took advantage quickly, taking six plays to set up a Doug Martin 3-yard touchdown run.
After New Orleans's ensuing drive stalled, Tampa Bay extended its lead after Roberto Aguayo booted a 44-yard field goal to put Tampa Bay ahead 10-0 going into the second. New Orleans struck back on its next drive, working quickly to set up a Brandin Cooks 43-yard touchdown, the first of his two scores.
But Tampa Bay had an answer. Eight plays later, Jameis Winston found Adam Humphries from nine yards out to push Tampa Bay's lead back up to 17-7 heading into the break.
New Orleans found pay dirt on its first drive of the third quarter, a Cooks 22-yarder, and contained Tampa Bay for the duration of the quarter, but the Saints couldn't take advantage to vault into the lead. Brees's second interception at the end of the quarter helped set up Winston's second touchdown, a 34-yard strike to Mike Evans, once again giving Tampa Bay just enough space.
Mark Ingram tacked on a one-yard touchdown run two drives later, but the clock quickly worked against the Saints to quell any comeback hopes.