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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) dives over the line for a first down during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

Saints Take Commanding Lead in NFC South with Victory Over Bucs

The New Orleans Saints defeated NFC South rival the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-17 on Sunday.

After suffering a bad divisional loss the previous Sunday to the Falcons, the Saints looked to recover against Tampa Bay. Drew Brees was playing his third game back from injury and appeared to be back to full strength.

Getting Ahead Early

To start Sunday’s matchup, the Saints came out in the first half dominating the Bucs. Kicker Will Lutz made two field goals in the first quarter to give the Saints an early 6-0 lead. Brees then capitalized on a Winston interception with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Michael Thomas for the 13-0 New Orleans lead.

In the second quarter, Brees found the end zone a second time with a three-yard touchdown pass to Tight End Jared Cook. New Orleans took a 20-0 lead. Tampa Bay finally got some points on the board with a late six-yard touchdown pass to Peyton Barber. New Orleans entered halftime with a 20-7 lead.

NFC South Quarterback Battle

Drew Brees looked complexly healthy in Sunday’s victory throwing for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Brees also completed 28 of his 35 passing attempts. Star receiver Michael Thomas was Brees’ main target recording eight receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown.

Michael Thomas currently leads the NFL in receptions with 94 and receiving yards with 1,141 yards. With over 90 receptions already, Thomas has become the first NFL player ever to record over 90 receptions in his first 10 games of the season.

https://twitter.com/Saints/status/1196136071077224448

Saints’ Head Coach Sean Payton commented on Michael Thomas’ talents following the victory.

In the loss, Jameis Winston struggled at quarterback throwing for 313 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions. Despite bringing Tampa Bay within ten points of New Orleans, Winston threw two interceptions back-to-back drives late in the fourth quarter to seal the Saints’ victory. Winston now leads the NFL in interceptions with 18, six more interceptions than the next quarterback on the leaderboard.

Divisional Standings

Following the victory, the Saints move to 8-2 overall on the season and first place in the NFC South. New Orleans has a three-game advantage over the second-place Panthers, who are sitting at 5-5 on the season. Green Bay currently is tied with the Saints for the best record in NFC and home-field advantage for the playoffs. Saints will prepare for another divisional matchup next week against the Panthers.

With the loss, the Bucs fall to 3-7 overall on the season and are tied with Falcons for last in the NFC South. Tampa Bay will now prepare to head to Atlanta next Sunday to take on Matt Ryan and the Falcons.

About Bradley Freedman

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