Tampa Bay Buccaneers Top New Orleans Saints After 4th Quarter Brawl

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints took their rivalry to a new level on Sunday. After a sluggish, bitterly-fought three quarters left the game tied at 3-3, tensions exploded in the fourth when Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans and Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore started a wild brawl that cleared the benches and ended in ejections for both players. The Bucs then pulled away, scoring 17 unanswered to hang on for a 20-10 victory, ending their streak of seven straight losses to the Saints in the unlikeliest of fashions.

The game began with typical New Orleans bad juju for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs' self-defeating errors at the half included a fumble lost inside the 30, a fourth-down stop inside the 10, and two unnecessary roughness penalties on defense that negated would-be third-down stops. But despite simmering frustrations, the defense held tough, holding the Saints to three points and two of nine on third downs. The Bucs entered the half down a manageable 3-0.
Photo Credit: © Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Things got out of hand at the beginning of the fourth quarter, with Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans and Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore earning matching ejections for instigating a bench-clearing brawl. The Saints unravelled, and the Bucs seized the opportunity. Already down receivers Julio Jones and Chris Godwin entering the game, the Bucs somehow found a bit of rhythm when Evans exited, and quarterback Tom Brady hit Breshad Perriman on a beautiful 28-yard touchdown strike to take the lead. Winston promptly threw his second interception, and the Bucs added a field goal. Down two scores, Winston threw a signature pick-six to all but ice the game in its final minutes. He ended his day with a miserable 4.48 net yards per passing attempt to go along with his three turnovers.

Looking ahead to Week 3, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Green Bay Packers in a massive NFC clash that could go a long way towards establishing seeding at the end of the year, and the Saints travel to face the Carolina Panthers in another NFC South showdown.

Photo Credit: © Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports