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Tampa Bay stuns Saints as Jameis Winston plays better in Week 2

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If nothing else, the Tampa Bay Bucs bought themselves a second look Sunday afternoon.

The embarrassment of their opening defeat still lingers, but the Bucs at least evened their record with a 26-19 upset of the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Tampa Bay played much better on defense, and got superior results from rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, who ran for one touchdown and threw for another as the team broke a seven-game losing steak to the New Orleans Saints.

The Bucs built a 23-7 lead, then held on despite several mistakes in the final eight minutes. The team fumbled twice, suffered two sacks and had countless penalties – including a tripping call that negated a first-down screen pass and an offsides on the clinching fumble recovery. Still, the Bucs evened their record at 1-1, erasing much of the scorn that had been aimed at them following a 42-14 loss to Tennessee on opening weekend.

Winston hit 14 of 21 passes for 207 yards, but most of his numbers came through three quarters. Once the team got into the final period, it seemed intent on running the ball – 17 of 19 plays in one stretch – and using the clock.

“We didn’t play our best football,” coach Lovie Smith said. “We have a lot of improvements to make.”

Jacquies Smith had three sacks for the day – and four this season – to lead Tampa Bay. The Saints lost two fumbles and had an interception.

“Jac was a factor,” Smith said.

Tampa Bay plays in Houston against the Texans next week.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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