3 Saints players most responsible for Week 2 loss to Buccaneers
After securing an impressive come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1, the New Orleans Saints traveled to the Sunshine State to go toe-to-toe with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While the Bucs are a very good team, the Saints have had their numbers since they added Brady under center, with a perfect regular season record against “Tompa Bay” since the two sides came together in 2020.
Would Jameis Winston and company be able to keep that streak alive, or would Brady finally get the best of the team that has had his number for the entirety of his final act at the NFL level?
For a time, it looked like things really could go either way. Taking part in a war of attrition that saw the score tied at three-all at the end of the third, Brady took issue with Marshon Lattimore on the fifth play of the fourth quarter, and the two teams quickly found themselves in the middle of an all-out brawl, with Mike Evans flying off the sideline to level the Ohio State quarterback.
From there, things basically fell apart for the Saints, being outscored 17-7 in the final quarter and watching their chances of going 2-0 disappear due to a series of largely self-inflicted wounds.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) September 18, 2022
Three players most responsible for the Saints’ Week 2 loss.
3. Marshon Lattimore
If Lattimore doesn’t get suspended, do the Saints still lose? Potentially so; Lattimore didn’t throw any interceptions, or fumble the ball either. Still, the Ohio State product is easily New Orleans’ best cornerback, and his ability to impact the game as both a defender and playmaker is unprecedented among the Saints’ other CBs.
Unfortunately, Lattimore’s loss wasn’t just about what he brings to the field from an Xs and Os standpoint. No, the fight that saw Lattimore and Evans ejected seemingly galvanized the Buccaneers and took the air out of the sails of the Saints, and served as the clear inflection point of the game. Even if Lattimore’s impact on the game is capped due to the position he plays, his energy would have been better served on the field than in the locker room.
2. Chris Olave
At the 2:40 mark in the fourth quarter, the Saints still weren’t out of it. Sure, they were down 20-10, but they had just scored a touchdown of their own after Winston’s pick-six, and there was still enough time to technically keep the game a game, especially if the team could connect on a big play down the field for a quick touchdown.
Fortunately, after a brutal outing, Winston actually connected with 2022 first-round pick Chris Olave on a go-route for 51 yards, and things were looking up for the Saints’ offense… until the OSU product fumbled the ball and effectively kissed any chance at a comeback goodbye.
Was the fumble call questionable? Yes. Did it stand after review? Yes. Some days, nothing seems to go right.
1. Jameis Winston
Winston threw three interceptions versus the Buccaneers and threw as many touchdowns for New Orleans as he did for Tampa Bay. Lattimore’s fight was bad, and Olave’s fumble was worse, but if there’s one player most responsible for snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory, it has to be Winston, who very well may have forgotten which team he plays for.
If Winston doesn’t throw that pick-six, the score is 13-3 with a little under six to go in the fourth quarter. Even if that isn’t a guaranteed win, the Saints were able to move the ball well when it was delivered accurately, but a series of Winston-inflicted wounds prevented that from happening.