The New Orleans Saints take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Caesars Superdome in Week 8 of the 2021 NFL season.
No Jameis Winston. No Taysom Hill. No problem. Enter Trevor Siemian. With the New Orleans Saints' top two quarterbacks out because of injury, Siemian came off the bench and played valiantly in leading the Saints to a 36-27 win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at a raucous Caesars Superdome.
Winston was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a knee injury - and with Hill still out with the concussion he sustained in the Washington game - it was up to Siemian, who had not thrown a pass since 2019 and not thrown a touchdown pass in in 1,421 days.
And while not perfect, the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder out of Northwestern made just enough plays give the Saints a 23-7 lead with 9:01 to play in the third quarter. But then Brady and the Bucs got to work. First, Brady connected with running back Giovani Bernard on a 7-yard touchdown pass. Next, a 41-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans. And then Tampa grabbed the lead on a 50-yard bomb from Brady to Cyril Grayson, a one-time Saint and LSU Tiger.
The set the stage for Siemian to drive the Saints into Johnson's field-goal range, and the rookie kicker delivered, making a 23-yarder for the lead. The key play was a 16-yard strike from Siemian to Marquez Callaway. And then P.J. Williams sealed the win with a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:24 to play.
"I was just reading the quarterback," Williams said. "He took me to the ball and I couldn't believe he threw it."
Saints Coach Sean Payton said he thought Winston's injury was "significant." Payton said Winston felt something and is on crutches right now.
"It's tough to see one of your leaders to go down," running back Alvin Kamara said.
The win, the team's third straight, improved the Saints to 5-2 and gives them the inside track on a fifth consecutive NFC South title as Tampa dropped to 6-2. The Saints were aided by some undisciplined play by Tampa, which had 11 penalties for 99 yards, and three Brady turnovers (fumble and two interceptions). New Orleans didn't have a turnover and just two penalties for 10 yards.
Siemian finished 16 for 29 for 159 yards and a touchdown.
"He's experienced," Payton said. "He's been a starter in this league. ... I'm proud of Trevor."
In his first game back with the Saints, running back Mark Ingram II had six carries for 27 yards and two catches for 25 yards. The Saints also scored on a 16-yard pass from Winston to Tre'Quan Smith, two additional Johnson field goals (23 and 35 yards) and a 1-yard touchdown run by Kamara, who had 19 carries for 61 yards.
Brady finished 27 of 36 for 364 yards, four touchdowns and the two interceptions. Godwin was his top target with eight catches for 140 yards and one touchdown.
The Saints will play host to the Atlanta Falcons (3-4) on Sunday, Nov. 7 at the Caesars Superdome.