Aug. 24 (UPI) — Jameis Winston improved his stock in the New Orleans Saints’ quarterback competition with a great performance in a preseason victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Winston completed 9 of 10 passes for 123 yards and two scores in the 23-21 win Monday at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. He started the game and was replaced by Taysom Hill in the second quarter.
Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway made five catches for 104 yards and two scores for the Saints.
“I have not started a football game in so long, so I was so excited to get an opportunity to start and lead the pack,” Winston told reporters.
“It was exciting, and the rhythm was great. [The] offensive line was phenomenal, and we had guys like Marquez making plays all night. You [have to] love that.”
Saints coach Sean Payton said he has not decided if Winston or Hill will be the team’s regular season starter.
Winston led a six-play, 72-yard touchdown drive on the game’s first possession. He ended that drive with a 43-yard touchdown toss to Callaway.
The Saints punted on their next drive. Winston connected with Callaway for another long score on the Saints’ third drive. Winston hit Callaway with a 29-yard toss down the left flank to end that possession and give the Saints a 14-0 edge.
Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo made a 34-yard field goal midway through the second quarter to make the score 14-3. Saints kicker Aldrick Rosas made a 52-yard attempt just before halftime.
Hill connected with wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey for a 14-yard touchdown on the Saints’ second drive of the second half. Lambo added a field goal for the Jaguars on the next drive.
Jaguars backup quarterback C.J. Beathard threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jeff Cotton with 5:21 remaining. Beathard threw another touchdown pass to wide receiver Collin Johnson on the Jaguars’ next drive, which cut the deficit to two points, but the Jaguars did not get the ball back.
Hill completed 11 of 20 passes for 138 yards and a score for the Saints. Jaguars starter Trevor Lawrence completed 14 of 23 passes for 113 yards. Gardner Minshew completed 13 of 21 passes for 149 yards and an interception for the Jaguars. Beathard completed 9 of 14 passes for 121 yards and two scores.
“I thought we did some things well, a lot of other things we need to get better at,” Lawrence told reporters. “I’d say from an individual perspective, I just got to get a little better with getting the ball out, taking completions, staying out of 2nd and long, 3rd and long.
“The whole offense, we have to click a little more. We still have some work to do.”
The Jaguars face the Dallas Cowboys in their final preseason game at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Saints host the Arizona Cardinals at 8 p.m. EDT Saturday in New Orleans.