Saints vs Bucs: Winners and losers from Week 2 loss

Kristen Wong
New Orleans Saints, Jameis Winston
New Orleans Saints, Jameis Winston / Chris Graythen/GettyImages
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The New Orleans Saints had to swallow a tough loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2, and the black and gold hype train has suddenly come to a halt.

This NFC South rivalry matchup had everything you could imagine -- except for Saints' touchdowns.

In the roaring Caesars Superdome, there was Microsoft tablet-throwing (a keen eye would notice the tablets were protected with padding this time) and a heated bench-clearing brawl, there were interceptions (though no baby GOATs) and controversial calls from referees.

Basically, your typical Saints-Bucs game.

Each team scored just one field goal heading into the fourth quarter, but then the floodgates opened, and havoc ensued. NOLA did finally score a touchdown at the end, but the Saints never really had a chance of getting back into this game. Brady and the Bucs bested them, and as much as we hate to admit it, they were the better team.

Many may have predicted a low-scoring affair, though not many could have foreseen the Saints' offense's impending collapse.

Here are the winners and losers from Week 2.

Losers

Jameis Winston

The Saints simply can't expect to win a game against their top division rival when their quarterback throws three picks in the fourth quarter.

Winston faced his former team in a revenge matchup that went very awry for Mr. 30-30, and the Bucs defense was apparently ready to pick him off all game.

Admittedly, Winston was dealing with four fractures in his back heading into the game which likely hindered his mobility and ability to throw. He was off on many of his deep balls, especially when trying to find rookie Chris Olave, and he also threw his first pick-6 as a Saint.

His last pick-6 came when he was on the Bucs in 2019.

Winston finished with a stat line of 236 yards and one touchdown against three interceptions, and part of his poor performance can be attributed to the Saints' middling offensive line. The O-line let Winston get sacked six times and often struggled to provide adequate pass protection.

There's no doubt that Winston looked sharp in preseason and at the end of the Saints' Week 1 win against the Falcons, but the signal-caller needs to improve his consistency.

Justin Evans

There aren't many Saints defenders who underperformed on Sunday, but defensive back Justin Evans was one of them.

Evans has earned a much bigger role in the defense ever since Ceedy Duce got traded and has shown that he can potentially fill that void in the backfield.

In the Saints-Bucs game, however, Evans was frequently outmatched by Tampa Bay's Mike Evans, who easily smoked him for a few open catches.

Ideally, the Saints would have put Marshon Lattimore on Mike Evans, but due to the flurry of coverage assignments Justin Evans found himself struggling to keep up with the flashy Bucs wideout.

In Week 1, Justin Evans actually led the Saints with the lowest passer rating allowed (39.6) -- he was targeted five times and allowed just one catch for five yards.

The young safety may just need more time to grow into Ceedy Duce's role as it appears he may not be ready to hold his own against the league's top receivers just yet.

Winners

Pete Werner

Werner had an incredible Week 1 performance against the Falcons, and he followed that up with yet another masterful display against the Bucs on Sunday.

Werner finished second on the team in tackles (8) and also had a nice pass breakup on Leonard Fournette.

He and Demario Davis have been incredibly fun to watch so far in the season -- they've made more exciting plays than the offense has at the very least.

NOLA was hoping Werner would break out in 2022 after losing Kwon Alexander, and it seems that plan is working for now.

Expect Pete Werner to continue developing as a reliable starting-caliber linebacker this season.

Marcus Davenport and the run defense

The entire Saints' run D deserves recognition for their performance against Tampa Bay. They limited the Bucs to just 74 rushing yards, with Leonard Fournette finishing with 65 yards total.

Considering the fact that Fournette feasted for about twice as many yards against the Cowboys in Week 1, that's got to be a big win.

Marcus Davenport played a crucial part in the stalwart run defense, as did David Onyemata and Shy Tuttle. Those two tackles recorded 0.5 sacks a piece on Sunday, and while we would have liked to see a bit more production given that the Bucs' O-line was severely weakened, the interior defense got the job done.

Davenport has been trying to reach his first-round potential after missing a handful of games each season for the last four years, and this year could be his time to shine.

Chris Olave

It's hard to include an offensive player on the winners list since the Saints' offense just could not get going at all this game, but if we had to pick one, it would be wide receiver Chris Olave.

Olave was the most targeted player on the team (13) and hauled in the most receiving yards (80), though anybody watching the game could tell he was itching for a big-yardage touchdown run all game.

The Ohio State product caught five of his 13 targets, which doesn't sound great, yet Winston took the blame for failing to connect with the rookie. Many of his passes to Olave were either too deep or too short, and the two still have the entire season to generate scintillating chemistry.

On a day when several rookie receivers went off for their respective teams (Drake London, Garrett Wilson), Olave's performance against the Bucs may go unnoticed.

He's nonetheless a star-in-the-making in our eyes and has all the traits to become one of the Saints' most productive wideouts as early as this year.

dark. Next. All-Time Leaders in Rushing Yards

The Dennis Allen era got handed its first loss in 2022, and the hope is that Allen and the team can take what they've learned from a disappointing result and get a better result the next time they face their NFC South rivals.

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