Turnovers, Offensive Opportunity Lead to Bucs’ Demolition of Saints

Ken Cross

October 02, 2023 at 12:39 pm.

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Tampa Bay left little doubt that its defense, one of the NFL’s strongest, could sail its way into the postseason after dominating New Orleans, 26-9, in the Caesars Superdome on Sunday.

The Saints never found the end zone as Tampa Bay won for the third consecutive time in the series. It was the third-largest win over the Saints in franchise history.

“We played great; we did a heckuva job punching the ball out right there,” said an ecstatic head coach Todd Bowles after the win. “We didn’t play well on Monday night (in a loss to the Eagles). A lot of guys played well and stepped up. I thought it was a great team win for us.”

The defense held New Orleans to 197 total yards and forced two fumbles. Dee Delaney picked off Saints backup quarterback Jameis Winston at the end of the game to solidify the win.

“We had a turnover and every time we take the field, it’s like nothing happens,” explained free safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. “So that’s what we did. We said, let’s go play some defense and that’s what we did and got a takeaway right back.”

With 41 seconds remaining in the first half, the Buccaneers recorded their first turnover of the afternoon when Saints running back Andrew Prentice went into the middle and picked up five yards. He was met by Winfield who forced the fumble and recovered it at the New Orleans six-yard line.

“The fullback had the ball. I just saw him running with it and I ended up just punching it and the ball came out,” said Winfield. “We covered it and just made that play.”

Winfield, who led the Bucs with nine tackles, is a defensive team leader who has 31 tackles, 17 solo, so far in the early season.

In the fourth quarter, the Buccaneers solidified the game when defensive tackle Vita Vea sacked Saints quarterback Derek Carr, who fumbled and Vea recovered on the Saints’ 16-yard line.

After the game, Bowles discussed New Orleans’ potential plans of attack and complimented the opponent.

“A scheme is a scheme, we knew they could throw it and we kind of knew what the attack was with (Alvin) Kamara coming back,” said Bowles. “That’s a really talented team over there.”


Offense Sails in Return:  The Tampa Bay offense was only able to find 174 total yards last Monday evening as the Bucs fell, 25-11, to Philadelphia.

Sunday had a different glimmer as Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield fired three touchdown passes that allowed Tampa Bay to take advantage of solid field position.

Mayfield hit tight end Cade Otton with a four-yard TD pass and then found Palmer from one-yard out and that gave Tampa Bay momentum that it would never lose with a 14-3 lead at halftime.

Then, wide receiver Deven Thompkins capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive with his five-yard touchdown catch with 3:44 to play in the game.

Bowles acknowledged the balance in the Bucs offense as it kept New Orleans on its heels, defensively, for the entire 60 minutes.

“We didn’t want to be more aggressive,” said Bowles. “We tried to take what they gave us. If they crowd us for the run, we take it away if we throw it. If they tried to take away the pass, we ran it. It was a good balanced attack.”