After two years of relentless work, vintage Jameis Winston appeared and lost the game for the New Orleans Saints. What does this mean for the future of the Saints?
Ever since Jameis Winston left the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he’s had his revenge when he sees them.
Winston left Tampa Bay disgraced by 30 interceptions to 33 touchdowns, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to put up 30-for-30. There was a mixture of promise and poor decision-making: clearly Winston had the arm to loft deep rainbows for quick touchdowns, but he also had the tendency to throw needless picks while falling to the ground on a sack.
The Saints vowed to reform Winston, working carefully with him for two years. Even during a playoff loss to the Buccaneers — the only loss the Saints had to the Bucs from 2018 to 2022 — Winston scored on a trick play that excited New Orleans.
Unfortunately, no matter the amount of bizarre speeches and offseason workouts, Jameis Winston hasn’t been able to figure out. Despite all the development the Saints say they have seen in Winston, vintage Winston emerged on Sept. 18.
After Winston threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter, a 3-3 deadlock went to 20-10, and the win went to the Bucs.
This time, it was the Bucs who could be relieved they had Tom Brady over Jameis Winston, while the Saints could only look on in horror in the Superdome as their worst fears came to fruition.
Jameis Winston interceptions today sealed Saints fate
The game was even before the fourth quarter, and while neither team had a touchdown, Winston was avoiding his biggest Achilles heel: recklessly turning over the ball.
But after Marshon Lattimore and Mike Evans got into a brawl and the two were ejected, Winston went on to throw three interceptions.
That’s the same amount of interceptions he threw through seven games in 2021, until injury sidelined him for the rest of the season.
Unfortunately for Jameis, he transformed before a mixed Bucs-Saints crowd, and what should have been another revenge game against the team that eventually gave up on him became a demonstration of their reasons for trading him.
Winston completed 25 of 40 passes for 236 yards, but much of that came early in the game. In the fourth quarter, here’s how three consecutive Saints drives went for Winston and the offense:
- Drive 1: Completed pass, then an interception
- Drive 2: Sack, then an interception
- Drive 3: Sack, pass, incomplete, pass, pick six
The Saints did follow that with a 75-yard touchdown drive, but with time winding down, Winston took a deep shot to rookie wideout Chris Olave. Finally, he connected, but Olave fumbled the ball and the Bucs recovered.
When Saints got the ball back for their final offensive drive, they couldn’t convert a single first down.
Winston has shown that he has the potential to lead the team to major wins — he just did so in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, where he was the fifth-highest graded quarterback, according to PFF.
But WInston’s play against the Bucs illustrates a troubling trend: when he panics, he still reverts to throwing deep and hoping for the best.
It should be noted that Winston played through a great deal of pain today, and through the first three quarters, this would have likely been a much larger story. Evidently, the decisions Winston made reflect his reflexes more than being stifled by injury, although this context does make the sacks he saw even more painful.
Today, Winston saw his 12th career pick six. Saints fans can only pray it’ll be his last.