Jameis Winston drops five touchdown passes on the Packers in a blowout

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The happiest person on the planet right now?

The doctor who performed Jameis Winston’s LASIK surgery.

Winston, making his first start as a member of the New Orleans Saints, exploded for five touchdowns in the Saints’ blowout win over the Green Bay Packers. The game, which was played in Jacksonville due to the impact of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana, was never really close. The Saints put 17 points on the board in the first half while holding the Packers to just a field goal, and then a pair of interceptions from Aaron Rodgers to open the second half allowed New Orleans to score 21 unanswered points to build their 38-3 lead, which showed on the clock as time expired.

Winston’s second touchdown pass of the day was perhaps his most impressive of the afternoon. Facing a 4th-and-goal with under two minutes remaining in the half, Sean Payton kept his offense on the field and put the football in Winston’s hands on a play-action design.

Payton’s faith in his QB was rewarded:

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What is notable about this play is how Winston was forced to get to a second read under pressure. The Saints run a two-man flood concept to the right, with fullback Adam Prentice releasing to the front corner of the end zone and tight end Juwan Johnson aiming for the back pylon. But pressure forces Winston to react quickly in the pocket, and he buys time with his feet before targeting Johnson in the back of the end zone as the TE adjusts his route. Johnson goes up and gets the football, and the Saints extend their lead.

A similar story played out on his third touchdown pass of the day. Facing a 3rd-and-7 at the Green Bay 10-yard line, Payton again puts the football in Winston’s hands. As with the previous example, pressure forces Winston to adjust, as he climbs the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield. He finds former lacrosse player Chris Hogan crossing in the back of the end zone for the score:

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What makes these two plays noteworthy is due to what we saw from Winston both during his time in Tampa Bay, and then this preseason. When everything is right in the pocket, Winston can be an effective quarterback. But when he is forced to adjust and get to a second or third read, especially under pressure, that is when the results sometimes fail to match the talent.

Winston’s game also made a bit of NFL history:

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After the victory, head coach Sean Payton praised his quarterback for his performance, along with the rest of his team for how they handled the circumstances of the game moving to Jacksonville:

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But one does not need praise from the head coach to see how impressive Winston was on the field against the Packers. As discussed on the recent installments of the Touchdown Wire matchup podcast, what we needed to see from Winston was what we saw today. A quarterback that made the right decisions in the pocket when pressured and forced to go to a secondary read.

If this is the Winston that we see throughout the season, the NFC South could get rather interesting.