The New Orleans Saints’ 2018 season got off to a disappointing start as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a 48-40 victory Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Trailing by 24 points in the fourth quarter, the Saints rallied behind two Alvin Kamara touchdowns, a 1-yard run and a 7-yard pass from quarterback Drew Brees, The Saints converted two-point plays on both touchdowns. But Tampa was able to run out the clock to claim the road victory.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, filling in for suspended starting quarterback Jameis Winston, had one of the best games of his career, passing for 417 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for another. Receivers Mike Evans (seven catches for 147 yards, one TD) and DeSean Jackson (five catches for 146 yards, two TDs) did the most damage as the Saints defense didn’t force its first punt until 7:42 was left in the third quarter.
The Saints offense kept up for the first half – scoring 24 points – but sputtered at the start of the second half with two punts and a lost fumble (Michael Thomas) on the first three possessions. In the first half Bucs returned Mike Gillislee’s fumble 34 yards for a score.
Thomas’ fumble was the lone miscue in a record-setting performance as the third-year receiver from Ohio State had 16 catches catches for 180 yards and one 6-yard touchdown. He set the team’s single-game receptions record, it was his fourth 100-yard game and he moved past 200 career receptions.
The Bucs finished with 529 yards of offense while the Saints had 475.
The Saints will host the Cleveland Browns next Sunday, Sept. 16 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as they try to bounce back from the loss. This was the fifth consecutive opener the Saints have lost. The Browns tied the Steelers at 21 in their opener Sunday.
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