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Saints wipe away any notion of struggling by beating down the Buccaneers

The Saints complete their sweep of the Bucs in 2019 with an impressive offensive/defensive effort.

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints are now 8-2 after knocking off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, proving that last week’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons may have been a fluke. They picked off Jameis Winston four separate times, en route to a 34-17 victory in Week 11.

The Saints came out strong offensively, dominating the time of possession, but having to settle for just two Wil Lutz field goals after being in the red zone to take an early 6-0 lead. New Orleans would apply some pressure defensively, and get an interception from Demario Davis after O.J. Howard tried to haul it in off his back, but instead got popped by Marcus Williams to assist Davis in making the easy pick. The Saints would get a first quarter touchdown one play later, as Drew Brees found Michael Thomas for a 16-yard touchdown.

In the second quarter, the Saints would extend their lead to 20-0 after a 13-play, 51-yard drive that was capped off by a Jared Cook receiving touchdown. It was a great individual effort by Cook to go up there and get the Brees pass. The Bucs would answer with a touchdown drive of their own, as Jameis Winston found Scotty Miller for what was ruled a score at first, but later overturned to be at the 1-yard line. It’d take the Bucs a few plays to get into the end zone after they actually lost some yardage, but Winston found Peyton Barber to cut the lead to 20-7.

The Saints had a 3-and-out on their next drive, forcing Thomas Morstead’s first punt of the day. Winston looked to have the Bucs in scoring position, but threw his second interception of the day after Kiko Alonso attempted to get it and tipped it up to Vonn Bell for his first career interception to end the half. By halftime, the Saints had the ball for 21:05 compared to the Bucs’ 8:55.

The opening third quarter drive for the Bucs saw them march down the field in 10 plays, but the drive would stall and Matt Gay would boot through a 55-yard field goal to make it 20-10. The Saints responded with a 10-play, 75-yard drive of their own that was finished off by a Brees to Ted Ginn Jr. 6-yard score to put the Saints up 27-10. Tampa Bay would respond, not going away quietly, as Winston helped pilot an 8-play, 75-yard drive that cut the lead to 27-17 after hooking up with Chris Godwin for a 30-yard touchdown.

New Orleans wasn’t able to much on their ensuing offensive possession, quickly giving it back to the Bucs. Jameis Winston was able to scramble for a big pickup to get some major breathing room, and it came down to a 4th and 1 call near midfield that resulted in Mike Evans being called for offensive pass interference. Bruce Arians challenged, but the ruling on the field stood. The Saints also got some breathing room after the punt from an unsportsmanlike conduct call on T.J. Logan for their ensuing possession.

Brees and company would get the ball up to around midfield, facing a critical 4th and 1 of their own. The Brees leap helped them extend the drive, but they’d end up punting it away just several plays later after an illegal shift backed them into a 3rd and 7. Morstead would pin the Bucs at their own 11. It wouldn’t take long, but Marcus Williams ended up delivering a knockout blown after making an easy pick. The best part? He scored off of it from 55 yards out to make it 34-17 Saints.

Tampa Bay threatened to add a garbage time touchdown late, but Winston was picked off a fourth time by P.J. Williams to help seal the game. The Saints turn their attention to the Panthers in Week 12, as they’ll host them for a noon kickoff on Sunday.