(Photo credit: Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports)
Baker Mayfield threw three touchdown passes and the Tampa Bay defense did not allow a touchdown as the visiting Buccaneers defeated the New Orleans Saints 26-9 Sunday afternoon.
Mayfield completed 24 of 31 passes for 246 yards and threw touchdowns of 4 yards to Cade Otton, 1 yard to Trey Palmer and 5 yards to Deven Thompkins.
Saints running back Alvin Kamara made his season debut after serving a three-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy and quarterback Derek Carr started despite a sprained AC joint in throwing shoulder sustained a week earlier in a loss at Green Bay.
But the Bucs (3-1) held Kamara to 51 yards on 11 rushes and 33 yards on 13 pass receptions while Carr completed 23 of 37 for 127 yards. New Orleans (2-2) managed just 197 total yards and three field goals by Blake Grupe.
Grupe kicked a 32-yard field goal to pull New Orleans within 14-6 at the end of the third quarter.
Chase McLaughlin's 51-yard field goal pushed the lead to 17-6 with 13:31 left in the game.
Grupe's 44-yarder got the Saints within eight points, but Mayfield's 5-yard touchdown to Thompkins increased the lead to 23-9 with 3:44 left.
After a Carr fumble, McLaughlin kicked a 28-yard field goal to complete the scoring with 2:24 left.
On the first possession of the game Carr passed for 17 yards and Kamara ran for 9 yards, leading to Grupe's 37-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead that held up through the end of the first quarter.
Mayfield's touchdown pass to Otton was the fourth third-down conversion in as many tries during a 17-play, 87-yard drive that gave the Bucs a 7-3 lead.
The Saints stopped a scoring threat when Isaac Yiadom intercepted Mayfield at the Saints 1-yard line in the final minute of the first half. But on the next play Antoine Winfield Jr. forced a fumble by Adam Prentice and recovered the ball at the 6.
Two plays later, Mayfield connected with Palmer with 19 seconds left, increasing Tampa Bay's lead to 14-3 at halftime.
--Field Level Media