Jameis Winston takes blame for Bucs' loss, but Lovie Smith says not so fast

Jameis Winston, left, took the blame for Sunday's loss to the Saints, saying he was outplayed by QB Drew Brees, Cliff McBride/Getty Images

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston blamed himself after Sunday's 24-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Winston completed 18 of 32 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown but overthrew his receivers throughout the game. Afterward, Winston said he was "outplayed" by Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Bucs coach Lovie Smith had other thoughts after viewing the tape.

"[It's] very seldom after we viewed the tape that we have not liked what Jameis Winston has done," Smith said Monday. "It was the same thing [Sunday]. There were a few balls that were off. ... But Jameis made good plays right up until the last pass he threw to get us back in it, or have a chance to get us back in it."

On Tampa Bay's final possession, Winston missed running back Charles Sims down the left sideline, where he had beaten a Saints linebacker. On the play, the linebacker knocked Sims off stride with a bump down the field and the ball landed a few yards beyond the target.

On third down, Winston fired a pass right in the hands of Donteea Dye, who had a lot of running room, but the ball bounced off the undrafted rookie's hands. Tampa Bay punted and never got the ball back.

Brees was 31-for-41 for 312 yards. With two touchdown passes, he moved past Hall of Famer Dan Marino on the career list.

"He was amazing," Winston said of Brees. "We knew it was an offense that we have to show up. Drew Brees just outplayed me. This was the game for me to have a breakout game and put some points on the board, and he played better."

Still, the failed comeback didn't stop Smith from praising Winston.

"Again, I like something I see from him," Smith said. "He's still growing, too, and it's fun to watch a player like that compete each week."