The New Orleans Saints narrowly knocked off the Atlanta Falcons with a 27-26 victory on Sunday and while Jameis Winston wasn't at his best, he did enough to help lead the offense down the field and set Wil Lutz up for the game-winning field goal.
Winston made seven starts last year in his first year as a starter since the Buccaneers replaced him with Tom Brady and was looking on pace to have a decent year before he was injured and missed the rest of the year. This was his first start since that game on Halloween last year when he was injured and it wasn't surprising that there was rust from Winston in his first game back.
The former No. 1 overall pick completed 23-of-34 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns. He didn't throw a pick (though he did have some close calls) but was sacked four times. The offensive line was a major problem in this game and it certainly impacted Winston in the first half but by the second half, he was getting the ball out quickly and it helped get the team back in the game and eventually the win.
With all of that said, let's take a look at the best and worst from Winston in his first game back since Halloween.
Worst from Jameis Winston Week 1
Since Winston didn't throw any interceptions or fumble the ball, it was a little harder to pick a specific play where he faltered the most. I went with his first-half performance in general, which left a lot to be desired.
Winston's offensive line did him no favors in this game and it led to a disastrous first-half outing for the Florida State product. Garland Gillen notes in the tweet below that Winston completed just five of 10 passes for a measly 24 yards in the first half.
Were it not for two massive runs by Taysom Hill in the first-half, New Orleans would have entered half time without any points. They'd have been down 16-0 rather than 16-7 and the comeback that we saw play out probably doesn't happen.
While the o-line was putrid, Winston looked rusty. He definitely perked up in the second half when he realized the offensive line wasn't going to be able to help him much.
Best from Jameis Winston Week 1
Winston went from having a really bad showing to finishing the game strong. After throwing for just 24 yards in the first half, he added 245 yards to his total in the second half and threw two excellent touchdown passes to Michael Thomas.
As great and meaningful as those two touchdowns were, however, the best from Winston on Sunday had to be on the incredible first-down to Jarvis Landry late in the game to help keep the offense on the field.
Jeff Duncan has an excellent Twitter thread on the aforementioned play where he notes that there was only a 19.6% completion probability. Yet, due to the outstanding throw from Winston and amazing effort from Landry, things worked out and it helped the good guys win the game.
When the dust had settled and the Saints were victors for the first time in the 2022 season, Jameis Winston had shown that he could lead this team back even when the protection simply wasn't there for him. Not only that but the run game, outside of Taysom Hill, didn't help him out on Sunday either (Alvin Kamara had just 39 yards rushing).
In a game where things weren't going well for either side of the ball, Winston stepped up and did what a quarterback has to do -- He got the ball out quickly and made the necessary throws to get his team the win.
I included John Hendrix's tweet above because I liked the quote from Dennis Allen. "He never flinched" he said about Winston following the game. It'd have been easy for Winston to have grown frustrated with the lack of protection and given up but he didn't. He showed that he can absolutely lead this team in 2022 and that was a huge lesson for both him and the fans to learn.
What do you think the best and worst from Jameis Winston on Sunday was?