Jameis Winston gets the ‘W’ in New Orleans Saints’ statement rout of Green Bay Packers

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In many ways, Sunday was the biggest game of Jameis Winston’s athletic career. At 27, he has plenty of NFL life left, but only if he cuts out the turnovers that were so ruinous in his five Tampa seasons. He didn’t try to make the day too big, but three hours before the Saints played Green Bay, he boarded the first bus at the Saints’ hotel. Before going to his seat, Winston stopped at the first row and looked to his left, where Sean Payton was sitting.

“I’ve dreamed of this moment my whole life,” Winston told Payton.

When Winston was in middle school in Alabama, Payton and Drew Brees began making beautiful music together running the Saints’ offense, and the games would be on TV most weekends in his house. When the Saints won the Super Bowl, Winston was a high school sophomore, and he longed to play in such a quarterback-friendly offense. And when he bombed out of Tampa in 2019, well, if he couldn’t start somewhere (he didn’t have the chance), he wanted to go to New Orleans, even to sit.

So winning the starting quarterback job in camp this summer was a thrill for Winston, and Week 1, with Payton in his ear for four quarters, was a thrill too.

You know that Winston Rose to the first challenge. In the shocking 38-3 rout of the Packers at their Hurricane Ida-caused temp home field in Jacksonville, Winston threw five touchdown passes and ran for 37 yards. As importantly, Winston didn’t throw an interception in 59 offensive snaps, didn’t fumble in 59 offensive snaps, and wasn’t sacked in 20 passing snaps. All those who had Winston with a passer rating 94 points better than Aaron Rodgers, raise your hand. I thought so.

After the game, I asked Winston over the phone from Florida: “What’s the play you’re most proud of today? What’s the play you made that you’ll always remember?”

“Imma tell you!” Winston said excitedly. “Fake wide zone to the left, late in the first quarter. I think we were at the Green Bay 37. I threw the ball away.”

You threw five touchdown passes today, I reminded him. You just mentioned an incompletion.

“We had this same play called the other day in practice,” Winston said. “And I was trying to make a play, and I threw it, and [Saints linebacker] Kaden Elliss intercepted it. So I just said to myself, If we call that play in the game this week, and it’s not there, I’m gonna throw it so high out of bounds that Shaq can’t pick it off. And that’s what I did.”

This was the Saints’ 14th play of the game. I’ve watched it eight or 10 times now, and it’s totally unremarkable, except for one thing. Alvin Kamara does a wheel route to the left, covered right away by linebacker Jonathan Garvin. Winston looks to the left, thinks about throwing it, sees Garvin lying in wait about five yards away, shifts his gaze downfield to covered receivers, returns to the left, and throws it over Shaq’s head. Way over. The remarkable thing, and the reason Winston loved it, is he wasn’t baited into taking a dumb chance.

“One of the great things I learned from playing with Drew [Brees] last year was decisions over results,” Winston went on. “Sometimes the right decision is a play that gains nothing. Just keep making good decision after good decision, and the game’s going to go okay.”

Green Bay Packers v New Orleans Saints
Saints quarterback Jameis Winston. (Getty Images)

Suddenly, a voice piped in from near Winston. I recognized it right away: Sean Payton’s.

“Hey!” Payton said, sort of irritated, sort of good-natured. “Will you stop eating the cheese already! It’s only one game! Get off the phone!”

“Gottagosorry,” is what came out of Winston’s mouth, and the line went dead.

Football’s back, and stories reign. My favorite of the week: the early redemption of Jameis Winston.

Winston thinks he’s gone to QB Nirvana. You can probably tell. On Saturday night in Jacksonville, for the first time post-Brees, Payton held what he calls his Dot Meeting with Winston and the coaches. Payton goes over the playcalls for every situation in the game—about 18 of them, like play-action, screens, quarterback-movement plays, empty backfield, two-minute—and the starting quarterback tells Payton what he hopes to see called in every section. For years, Brees would give his preferences, and Payton would put a black Sharpie dot right next to the play on the playsheet he’d take onto the sideline the next day.

This weekend was the first time for Winston in a Dot Meeting. “We get to the first section of the playsheet,” Payton told me Sunday night, “and he’s telling me he likes every play. So I tell him, ‘You can’t tell me you like every play. Otherwise, there’s no sense in having a Dot Meeting!’ “

But Winston wasn’t saying that because he was trying to brown-nose the coach and tell him how great the plays he picked for the game plan were. He just figured if Payton drew ‘em up, they’d work in the game. Winston also told him he wanted to hear more from Payton in his helmet—more advice, more gut feeling about what was coming from the defense. And when he got on the bus early Sunday afternoon in Jacksonville and told Payton this day was a dream for him, it hit Payton.

“You hear that, and you want to do right by your student,” Payton said.

Payton was pleasantly surprised with how comfortable Winston was running; he hadn’t done much of it in camp. But on the first series of the game he broke the pocket for 11 and 15-yard scrambles, setting up an Aldrick Rosas field goal. From there, the game plan wasn’t about quick strikes and explosive plays. Payton wanted to keep Rodgers off the field. New Orleans won the time of possession stat by nine minutes and limited Green Bay to nine unproductive possessions. On the 10-minute drive that made it 17-0 in the second quarter, the Saints called 11 runs and four passes, and Payton went for it on fourth-and-goal from the one, Winston hitting wideout Juwan Johnson for a one-yard TD.

Six of the Saints’ first seven drives resulted in scores. With minutes left, it was 38-3 and Rodgers had given way to Jordan Love. All in all, not at all what we saw coming.

That includes Winston’s favorite play of the game, the throwaway—six feet over Kamara’s head on the left sideline.

“I love that,” Payton said. “I really love it. When people say, ‘Throw it away!’ what does that mean exactly? There’s more to it than just know when to throw it away—it’s got to fit in everything that you do. That play at the 37 that he threw away is a winning play. He knows we’ve got other plays that are going to work well and are coming.”

When I said a few paragraphs ago that we’ll spend days overreacting to what we saw Sunday, that means the really good stuff too—like Winston being risk-averse and not turning it over. Misfortune in the NFL, Payton said, “is always around the corner. But I do know this: The next time we have a quarterback who leads the league in interceptions will be the first time.”

Winston says he doesn’t approach a game with the attitude now of, I’m not going to turn it over. “You can’t play that way,” he said. “I never said that in Tampa either. I never go into a game thinking, don’t throw a pick. We’ve got such an amazing defense, with great weapons all around me, and a franchise back [Kamara], that it’s a privilege for me to just play my part in all of it.”

It’s an interesting time for the Saints. This was a home game for them, due to Hurricane Ida wreaking havoc on Louisiana. So after the game they flew back to their temporary base at a luxury hotel in Dallas-Fort Worth. This week, they’ll practice for another week in Fort Worth at Texas Christian University. They’ll fly to Charlotte on Saturday to play game two at Carolina on Sunday. If New Orleans officials deem it practical and power is restored nearly in full to the area, the Saints will fly to New Orleans after the Carolina game and practice at home in week three before playing at New England on Sept. 26. Then, if all goes well, they’d play their first game in New Orleans this year Oct. 3 against the Giants.

Green Bay Packers v New Orleans Saints
Winston and Packers linebacker Rashan Gary. (Getty Images)

It’s interesting, too, that cornerback Marshon Lattimore—who played Green Bay receivers tough and had a huge pass-broken-up against against Davante Adams on Sunday—finalized a five-year extension at the pre-game team meal Sunday. Not ideal, but in this transient world the Saints inhabit, it didn’t impact them negatively in Week 1.

A complementary quarterback with a good supporting cast and a tight defense won for the Saints on Sunday. Misfortune might be around the corner, but not this week. And maybe not for a while with a quarterback who’s determined to be Payton’s long-term answer at the position.

After the game, Payton told his team, “There wasn’t a bigger statement in the NFL today than our win, right here.” Beating a 2020 Final Four team with an all-time quarterback by 35—that’s quite a statement.

Read more in Peter King’s Football Morning in America.

How to watch Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: TV, live stream info, preview for Sunday Night Football game

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It’s the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday, October 2 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida–a rematch of Super Bowl LV where Tom Brady earned his seventh ring. Sunday’s matchup marks the sixth meeting between Patrick Mahomes and Brady with the 45-year-old veteran holding a 3-2 edge in the series.

Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock with Football Night in America. See below for additional information on how to watch the game.

Football Night in America will feature a weekly segment hosted by former NFL quarterback Chris Simms and sports betting and fantasy pioneer Matthew Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

RELATED: FMIA Week 3 – Broncos’ Coaching Experiment Pays Off, Dolphins Win ‘Beast’ Game, and What We Learned About the NFL in September

Be sure to start your NFL Sunday with Matthew Berry’s Fantasy Football Pregame show beginning at 11 AM ET on Peacock and the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.

Kansas City Chiefs

Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) picked up their first loss of the season last Sunday after falling 20-17 to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kansas City struggled offensively in Week 3 as the team was held to just three points in the second half. The Chiefs are still working to fill the void in the passing game since trading star WR Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins in the offseason but according to Mahomes, that doesn’t excuse Sunday’s loss.

RELATED: Patrick Mahomes –  I don’t expect growing pains, offense has to gel together

“I don’t expect any growing pains,” Mahomes told reporters at ESPN.com. “Obviously have new players and you don’t know everybody’s going to respond to tough situations. . . . We’ve got to gel all together. It starts with me. There were certain throws I was putting on guys’ back hips instead of in front of him. There were certain situations where we were just barely off of it.”

Mahomes, who signed a 10-year, $450 million contract extension, in July 2020–the richest contract in American sports history by total value–is in his fifth season as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback and hopes to lead Kansas City to its seventh straight AFC West title. The Chiefs are the only team to ever win six consecutive AFC West titles, which is tied for the 3rd-longest division title streak of any team in NFL history.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brady and the Buccaneers (2-1) are also coming off their first loss of the season–a 14-12 defeat at home from Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers last Sunday afternoon. With WRs Mike Evans (suspension) and Chris Godwin (hamstring)–Brady’s top two targets–and Julio Jones (knee) out in Week 3, Tampa Bay’s offense racked up a total of just 285 yards in the loss. Additionally, the team is still adapting to the turnover at the WR and TE positions from this offseason. Despite some challenges on offense, Tampa Bay’s defense has remained consistent and currently leads the NFL in scoring defense (9.0 pts/gm) and also ranks in the top 5 in total defense.

RELATED: Todd Bowles asks NFL to explain clock issues on delay of game, says Bucs have to get the snap off


How to watch the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

  • Where: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida
  • When: Sunday, October 2
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

What time is kickoff for the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers game?

Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

For all your NFL jersey and gear needs ahead of the 2022 season, click here!


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

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The 2022 NFL Football season is finally back in session. This Sunday night features a match-up between Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers–a rematch of Super Bowl LV. NBC and Peacock have got you covered with access to this week’s game as well as every Sunday Night Football game this season. See below for the complete 2022 Sunday Night Football schedule and find out how to live stream every game on Peacock.

RELATED: FMIA Week 3 – Broncos’ Coaching Experiment Pays Off, Dolphins Win ‘Beast’ Game, and What We Learned About the NFL in September

This year’s Sunday Night Football coverage will feature Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth in the booth and Melissa Stark on the sidelines. Live coverage begins every Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America with the talented group of Maria Taylor, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Jason Garrett, Chris Simms, Jac Collinsworth, Mike Florio, and Matthew Berry. Berry, a fantasy football industry pioneer, will also appear on Peacock’s exclusive NFL post-game show, Sunday Night Football Final.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

Football Night in America will also feature a weekly segment hosted by Simms and sports betting and Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Chiefs at Buccaneers

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Bengals at Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Cowboys at Eagles

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Steelers at Dolphins

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Packers at Bills

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Titans at Chiefs

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – Chargers at 49ers

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Bengals at Steelers

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Patriots at Vikings

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers at Eagles

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Colts at Cowboys

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Chiefs at Broncos

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Patriots at Raiders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD

RELATED: How to watch/live stream Chiefs vs Buccaneers game


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

RELATED: PFT’s Week 3 2022 NFL power rankings

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!