FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Jameis Winston threw a patented "no, no ... yes" touchdown pass to receiver Marquez Callaway late in the first half Sunday to help get the New Orleans Saints offense back on track against the New England Patriots.
Winston was being sacked when he threw the ball up for grabs in the back of the end zone on third-and-goal from the Patriots' 7-yard line. But Callaway went up high over cornerback Jonathan Jones and reeled it in to give New Orleans a 14-0 lead -- and Callaway his first career touchdown - en route to a 28-13 victory.
"That was all God," said Winston - who admitted he was trying to throw the ball away on the play and that he didn't realize it was a "free play" because of a defensive holding call against Jones. "Marquez went up there and snatched it. So touchdown, good guys."
Not only was Winston going against his vow to make smarter decisions with the football in his career revival with the Saints on that throw - but he was also going against Sean Payton's specific directive for this week. Payton harped all week about how the Patriots were a staggering 108-7 when they won the turnover battle at home, and stressed that it would be the most important statistic in this game. The Saints (2-1) indeed wound up winning the turnover battle 3-0 while Winston finished a conservative 13 of 21 passing for 128 yards with two TDs.
"We were a bit fortunate there," Payton said of Winston's accidental TD pass. "Marquez made a play. Kind of a hold-your-breath moment."
Winston said Payton's message to him was, "If you're throwing it away, make sure you throw it away."
"And I told him, 'Coach, that's all God,'" Winston said. "'Can't get in the way of God's plan.'"
Callaway, undrafted in 2020, was off to a quiet start this season after generating a ton of buzz as a summer breakout for the Saints. That was the type of highlight-reel catch he had been making in preseason games and training camp.