The New Orleans Saints recorded their first loss of the season in aggravating fashion, falling 20-10 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
NOLA's defense kept the score close until a pair of questionable calls turned the tides in favor of the Bucs, who ran away with the game in the fourth quarter.
Here are some stats from the Saints-Bucs game in Week 2 that are simply unacceptable.
Lack of significant offensive drives
We don't have the exact number of three-and-outs on Saints' offense, but the team just looked flat out bad with the ball in their hands on Sunday.
The Saints got an early field goal in the first quarter which seemed to bode well for the offensive unit, yet after that initial drive, Jameis Winston and company could not get ANYTHING going.
Following the completed field goal, the Saints punted four times through the first two quarters, and for three of those punts NOLA didn't even make it remotely into Bucs territory -- they were still in their own half.
In the Saints' defense, the Bucs didn't sustain any long offensive drives either until the second half of the game.
Still, we'd expect the Saints to do more with the talented weapons they have (Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, Jarvis Landry) and figure out a way to generate offensive rhythm earlier in the game. Use Taysom Hill if you have to -- just do SOMETHING.
Jameis Winston's three picks
The caveat to this stat is that the Saints' offensive line remains just as shaky as it was in Week 1.
The O-line allowed six sacks on Winston and didn't provide great pass protection all game; Winston's picks were mostly his own fault, but it should still be noted that the offensive line did not improve in a significant way in Week 2.
This was Winston's first full revenge game against the Bucs, and Mr. 30-30 wanted to prove he wasn't the same inconsistent quarterback from three years ago. Unfortunately, he ended up proving Tampa Bay right when he threw those hope-shattering three interceptions in the fourth quarter, and by that time, many were clamoring for the Saints to take him out of the game.
Fans will remember that it was Devin White who injured Winston on an illegal horse collar last season, dragging him down and causing him to tear his ACL. That makes his comments so much more infuriating, and the worst part of it is that White isn't wrong: Winston played a terrible game. No way to sugarcoat it.
Winston was dealing with four back fractures this game, so he does have a small excuse for his performance.
That being said, the Saints cannot expect to win if he throws three picks every game.
Four fumbles (two lost)
Other than the picks and the questionable officiating, one Saints player dramatically changed the course of the game: Mark Ingram.
NOLA recorded four fumbles total this game, one of which was lost by Ingram late in the third quarter.
Winston and the offense had just completed a 64-yard drive and had finally entered Bucs territory. The score was tied 3-3 and there was an optimistic feeling that if NOLA could get a touchdown here, they could essentially win the game.
On a first-and-10, Ingram rushed on Tampa's 20-yard line and fumbled; Bucs defender Carl Nassib recovered the ball.
That moment injected cruel despair into Saints fans' hearts and served as one of a few pivotal turning points of the game. There's just no coming back from a morale-deflater like a fumble so close to the end zone, and Ingram took full responsibility for his mistake in the post-game press conference.
The error marked back-to-back weeks with a fumble for Ingram, who has not done a very good job filling in for Alvin Kamara thus far.
He has to get better. Winston has to get better. The offense overall has to get better, or else this season could end up looking a lot like the last.