PJ Williams’ heroic moment sends the Saints to 5-2 | with a wild win over Buccaneers Saints
With fog swirling around him, quarterback Jameis Winston stood on his right leg in the middle of the New Orleans Saints locker room, twirling his crutches like oversized paint protection sticks.
Winston celebrated the Saints’ 36:27 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his old club, like he had nothing else on his mind. However, that was probably just the opposite.
Coach Sean Payton couldn’t hold back his emotions when he saw the Saints quarterback in the locker room and admitted that he cried when he saw Winston. Payton later called the injury “significant”, although at the time of the press interviews Payton had not spoken to the team’s medical staff about an update.
“That win was for him,” said backup quarterback Trevor Siemian of Winston. “I just sympathize with the guy. I just love him so much. Just being around him, you just can’t help it. He’s got that infectious personality that was tough. “
Winston’s modern crutches – two of his three new accessories alongside a large black knee brace – were in hand because he sustained an apparent left knee injury early in the second quarter after Tampa Bay linebacker Devin White gave him a penalty had brought down. To initiate impetus.
After Winston took the hit, he needed the help of two members of the athletic training staff to help him limp slowly from the field into the medical tent on the edge. Several Saints players, including running back Alvin Kamara, left Terron Armstead, and recipients Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris headed into the tent to wish him well.
When Winston emerged from the tent, Armstead served as a human crutch to help his quarterback onto the cart while backup quarterback Trevor Siemian trotted out onto the field for the first time since 2019.
The mentality of the team afterwards? “We’re going to go out there and win it for him,” said security PJ Williams.
Williams played a crucial role in this.
The Saints (5-2) had given up a 16-point lead completely to the Bucs, but regained a small 2-point lead late after rookie kicker Brian Johnson scored a chip in the field goal 101 seconds before the end of the game. But against reigning Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady? The Saints fans present knew that he might have too much time left to do his magic.
Two games later, however, Williams threw himself in front of a Brady pass and returned the interception for a touchdown – which sent the once-silent Superdome into a pure pandemonium. Payton was a little dissatisfied that Williams wasn’t kneeling, but Williams said he knew he could score so he would give it a try.
“When I saw what I saw, I went to the end zone, man,” Williams said with a smile. “If I felt like they were safe, I might have gone down or gone, but I saw the sideline and the end zone and was gone.”
With Williams scoring as opposed to the alternative, the Bucs still had a chance to spoil the Halloween fun, but it didn’t happen. In fact, Tampa Bay didn’t even cross midfield in its last possession after the defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon and linebacker Kwon Alexander ended the series with ostentatious sacks.
Siemian completed 16 of 29 passes for 159 yards with a touchdown. Winston got off to a strong start prior to his injury, completing 6-of-10 passes for 56 yards with one touchdown and 40 yard rushing on four scrambles.
As a backup, Siemian constantly draws attention to Winston in the game, especially when he’s crawling. Siemian said he doesn’t think of Winston’s potential to be hurt so bad “because he’s so tough”.
But Siemian knew something was wrong with Winston after his first steps were “shaky” after the collision, so the Northwest alumnus grabbed a ball and started warming up.
Unlike in the last few games, the offensive production was spread out.
Kamara led all rushers with 61 yards on 19 carries, while training squad receiver Kevin White technically led the receivers with 38 yards on a catch. Behind him, Deonte Harris had three receptions for 35 yards in his first game after his hamstring injury.
The two offensive New Orleans holdings after Winston’s injury were tidbits from the Saints’ defense, which in turn helped give Siemian some confidence.
Saint’s defensive end Cameron Jordan flew in to fire quarterback Tom Brady for an 8 yard loss, throwing the ball out of Brady’s clutches. Defensive tackle David Onyemata, in his first game after suspension, fell to football at the 37-yard line in New Orleans. After a long streak, the Saints opted for a short field goal from Johnson.
The offense was only off the field for two games before Siemian and Co. trotted back outside.
Brady tried to keep feeding receiver Chris Godwin – who ended up with eight catches for 140 yards – but safety CJ Gardner-Johnson read the game from the jump, jumped in front of Brady’s pass, and brought him 26 yards back to the 35-yard line at Tampa Bay.
The Saints marched across the field thanks to the efforts of Ingram, Kamara and Smith before Siemian hit full-back Alex Armah with a 1-yard touchdown pass to increase the Saints by nine in less than a minute of play in the first half .
New Orleans carried his momentum from the end of the first to the second, and from there Siemian made the longest drive in the game. Much of that yardage came down to a chunk play to begin the series, with Siemian airing one on the sidelines to receiver Kevin White for a 38 yard win.
Three short runs followed before Payton made a bold play-call to fourth and fourth place, with Siemian fitting on his left to Harris, who sprinted 7 yards for the first down. The Saints dragged the chains off one more long Kamara onslaught before finding themselves back in fourth Down territory. Only this time, only 1 yard separated the line of scrimmage from the end zone.
For Kamara? No problem. Siemian threw the ball at No. 41 and Kamara bobbed the ball a few times – which briefly worried the crowd – before it went untouched into the end zone. Kamara’s score brought the Saints around 16.
Then, after a break in production, the Buccaneers woke up and scored two consecutive touchdowns from Brady to Giovani Bernard and then from Brady to Mike Evans to bring the game down to two points. The Saints continued to shoot forward in the middle of the fourth quarter when Johnson hit a 35-yard field goal to give New Orleans a 5-point cushion.
Shortly thereafter, however, the Buccaneers took their first lead of the Saints defense, 27-26, since the first quarter after Brady tackled a 50-yard touchdown with a wide-open Cyril Grayson, the Saints’ former training camp darling, for a 50-yard touchdown had connected.
Injury Update: Jameis Winston left the game early in the second quarter with an apparent knee injury. He was initially considered questionable to return, but was later downgraded to out. … Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski left the game with back cramps and never returned.
Who Dat Vocal Director: Mark Ingram. Cameron Jordan led the chant in the true home opener against the New York Giants.
Next: The Saints are hosting the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, November 7th. Kick-off is planned for noon.