Brian Allee-Walsh

All Saints, all day long in rout of Tampa Bay

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Ted Ginn (19) pulls in a touchdown pass against Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Chris Conte (23).
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Ted Ginn (19) pulls in a touchdown pass against Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Chris Conte (23). Associated Press

The city's professional football team celebrated All Saints Day NFL style Sunday.

The still NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints dominated the overmatched Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-10 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, extending their winning streak to six games for the first time since 2013 (eight).

It was never a matter of if but by how much.

It took 60 minutes of football to officially answer that question, although the game was over for all intents and purposes when Saints undrafted rookie Justin Hardee blocked a punt and returned it seven yards for a touchdown and a quick 9-0 lead with barely eight minutes gone.

From there, it turned into a downright laugher.

Folks, the Saints are becoming scary good. Scary, I tell you.

Consider:

They now are the third team in NFL history to win six straight games after a 0-2 start. And the first two teams went on to win the Super Bowl: the 2007 New York Giants (six straight) and the 1993 Dallas Cowboys (seven straight).

That's a small fraternity.

On the first Sunday of November, the Saints proved convincingly why they belong, dominating on both sides of the football. Quarterback Drew Brees played brilliantly, completing 22 of 27 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns for a stellar 131.9 passer rating, and rookie running back Alvin Kamara accounted for two touchdowns and 152 yards from scrimmage on 17 touches.

On defense, the Saints continued their stingy ways since the team's 0-2 start, limiting the Bucs (2-6) to 200 yards with all 10 of their points following New Orleans turnovers.

If this had been a prized fight, the Buccaneers' corner would have been smart to throw in the towel at halftime trailing 16-3 and their quarterback Jameis Winston holding his injured right arm at his side after being driven into the turf by Saints defensive end Alex Okafor.

Winston didn't answer the bell to open the third quarter, turning the chippy game over to journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick who led the Bucs to a meaningless touchdown in the fourth quarter.

In fact, the most fight displayed by the Buccaneers came midway through the third quarter when Winston came off the bench and poked Saints rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore in the back of his helmet. Then, all hell broke loose as Bucs' wide receiver Mike Evans cheap-shotted Lattimore from behind, knocking the Saints' coveted first-round pick to the turf.

A scrum of players from both teams formed on the Buccaneers sideline. Saints coach Sean Payton charged on to the field, angrily waving his arms and shouting his protestations in Evans' direction.

Evans and Winston will pay plenty to the league for their indiscretions this week.

On Sunday, the Saints made the freefalling Bucs pay dearly on the scoreboard.

Brian Allee-Walsh, a longtime Saints reporter based in New Orleans, can be reached at sports@sunherald.com.

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