NEW ORLEANS -- Jameis Winston could not have presented a stronger case for being the New Orleans Saints' next starting QB on Monday Night Football.
Winston completed 9 out of 10 passes for 123 yard and two touchdown throws. These spectacular plays were completed by Marquez Callaway, receiver against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Caesars Superdome. All this in the first quarter, a 23-21 win.
Winston, 27, is trying to revive himself after his last offseason with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sean Payton, Saints coach, told NBC Sports that he hopes New Orleans will name its starting quarterback before Saturday's preseason finale against Arizona Cardinals. This made Monday's game the most important yet for Winston Hill and Taysom.
Hill, who turns 31 on Monday, started slowly but ended up with his first TD pass for the preseason late third quarter. It was a perfect placed 14-yarder to Lil'Jordan Humphrey. Hill completed 11 of 20 passes for 138 yards, with no turnovers or rushing attempts. Hill was flagged once for intentional grounding, but he also led the Saints in the final 36 seconds to score a field goal.
Winston was, however, making his first-ever start for the Saints, since there wasn't a preseason in 2020 when he joined the team. He made the most of it.
Winston completed a 10-yard pass from Winston to Callaway in the first snap. He converted a third down three plays later with a strike to Juwan Johnson, a tight end. He then completed the drive with a 43-yard TD pass, which Callaway managed to catch on his way down the field despite a pass interference penalty against rookie Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Winston's pass flew 53.3 miles in the air. This is the longest distance on any Saints pass from 2016 through the regular season and playoffs.
Winston's second TD pass to Callaway was perhaps even more impressive, a 29-yarder down the left sideline to Callaway. He had a free blitzer in front of him when he threw it. Callaway might have caught it with one hand, but it was a much more impressive catch.
Winston's one incompletion was not a major setback. He showed some judgement by choosing to run back on third-and-16, after having looked deep at the field. After his career was halted by turnovers in Tampa, Winston has made significant progress in this area.
Before Monday night, Winston and Hill were arguably still too close for comfort. Both QBs had done some nice work, but not enough to win the game. Both quarterbacks threw interceptions last week in the preseason opener. However, their receivers were equally responsible.
Winston was the Saints' only TD driver last week, while playing with the second-string.
Winston has always been a fan of the deep ball. He has shown his large arm a few times during training camp -- something he could offer New Orleans' offense after Drew Brees' retirement.