After a tough loss in Green Bay, the New Orleans Saints returned home for a divisional matchup versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Derek Carr was able to start despite dealing with an AC joint injury and Alvin Kamara made it back after serving a three-game suspension. Even with those players being active, Tampa outlasted New Orleans 23-9 in the Caesars Superdome.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
New Orleans opened the game with the football as quarterback Derek Carr and the offense picked up 56 yards in 11 plays. Taysom Hill would complete a pass to Michael Thomas and later catch Carr’s pass on third down. Hill would slip before picking up a first down and kicker Blake Grupe drilled a 37-yard field goal to put the Saints up by three with 9:20 left in the opening quarter.
The next few drives resulted in punts, including a couple of three-and-outs as the Saints would end the first quarter on top 3-0.
Following a Saints punt, Baker Mayfield led the Bucs’ offense down the field for the game’s first touchdown. A pass interference call on Marshon Lattimore extended the drive for Tampa and tight end Cade Otton made the four-yard touchdown catch to put the Bucs up 7-3 with 5:19 left in the second quarter.
Tampa would get the ball back with just over two minutes to go in the first half. On 2nd & 2 from the New Orleans 21-yard line, Mayfield tried to connect with Chris Godwin but Isaac Yiadom intercepted the pass at the one-yard line with 41 seconds to go.
Carr handed the ball off to Adam Prentice who fumbled as Antoine Winfield recovered the ball and set up 1st & GOAL for the Bucs. Mayfield would find Trey Palmer for the one-yard touchdown to put Tampa up 14-3 second before halftime.
The Bucs received the ball to begin the second half and would punt on a three-and-out after Bryan Bresee sacked Mayfield on third down.
New Orleans cut their deficit to within eight with a 32-yard field goal by Grupe. Alvin Kamara and Hill touched the ball on nine of the 12 plays on the drive.
Following another Buccaneers punt, Carr gave fans a heavy dose of Kamara touches. Grupe lined up and made the 44-yard field goal after Carr tried to get Kamara the ball on 3rd & 10 to make it a 17-9 game with 8:29 left in the fourth quarter.
Mayfield would extend the Bucs’ lead late with a five-yard touchdown pass to Deven Thompkins. Tampa was up by 14 with 3:44 left to go in the game.
Vita Vea strip sacked Carr on the ensuing drive and Tampa’s Logan Hall would fall on it at the New Orleans 19-yard line. McLaughlin would knock through a 28-yard kick with 2:24 left.
Jameis Winston came in late and threw an interception to Dee Delaney. The Bucs would run out the clock and take down the New Orleans Saints 26-9.
BIG NUMBER: 24
In his first game back, Derek Carr and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael weren’t afraid to get Alvin Kamara the ball. He finished the game with 24 total touches (11 runs, 13 catches) but only had 84 scrimmage yards in the loss.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Baker Mayfield
The Tampa quarterback looked sharper than others in Sunday’s contest as he completed 25 out of 32 pass attempts for 246 yards and had three touchdown passes on the day as the Buccaneers defeated the Saints 23-9. The signal caller also ran the ball five times for 34 yards.
UP NEXT: The New Orleans Saints will travel to Foxborough, Massachusetts to play the New England Patriots. Kickoff is scheduled for noon on October 8th.