The Saints had just taken the lead and yet it felt ominous.
A 23-yard field goal by Brian Johnson put the Saints up 29-27 over the Buccaneers with 1:41 left in the game. But their aggressive play-calling inside the 10-yard line, two incomplete passes by Trevor Siemian and settling for a field goal left Tom Brady with plenty of time to add to his NFL legend.
Instead, two plays later Brady thew an interception that was returned for a touchdown by P.J. Williams, sealing the Saints’ 36-27 victory.
“I think I just threw it to the wrong guy,” Brady told reporters after the game. “I had Mike (Evans) open. It cost us the game.”
“He forced the one at the end,” Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said. “That was not characteristic of him.”
Brady threw for 375 yards and four touchdowns but his mistakes — two interceptions and a fumble — proved costly against a Saints team that has won all three regular-season matchups against him since he joined Tampa Bay last season. However, the Bucs did win a Divisional Round playoff game in New Orleans last season on their way to a Super Bowl.
“It’s tough to win when you turn the ball over like we did,” Brady said. “I have to not throw interceptions. That’s the key.”
Brady was not alone in his struggles, though.
The Bucs (6-2) tied a season high with 11 penalties for 99 yards, including six defensive infractions that contributed to 13 points on three drives led by Siemian, who has been a starter in the NFL but not since 2017 with Denver.
Siemian entered the game when Jameis Winston suffered what Saints coach Sean Payton deemed a “significant” leg injury in the first half.
— With AP
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