The Saints recorded their sixth win in a row Sunday by doing what good teams do: scoring in multiple ways, playing strong defense, forcing turnovers and striking quickly.
The result was a 30-10 victory against NFC South opponent Tampa Bay in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Saints, now 6-2 after an 0-2 start, are on a roll not seen in New Orleans in several years. The last Saints team to win six straight was the 2011 team, which ended the season on an eight-game winning streak and reached the divisional round of the playoffs.
As nice a win it was for the Saints, it was an ugly loss for Tampa Bay in more than one way. The third quarter was marred by a fight near the Buccaneers' bench in which injured quarterback Jameis Winston taunted Saints player Marshon Lattimore as TB receiver Mike Evens hit Lattimore with a cheap shot from the back. Evans was penalized but not ejected. Lattimore did not appear to be injured.
The Saints did their talking on the field. Running back Alvin Kamara was the offensive star with two touchdowns, 68 yards on 10 carries and 6 catches for 84 yards. Quarterback Drew Brees was 22 for 27 for 263 yards and two TDs.
Against one of the better offenses they've faced, the Saints defense held the Bucs to 113 passing yards and 87 on the ground. Winston, who started the game, was held to 67 yards passing before reinjuring his damaged shoulder and leaving the game late in the first half.
And the special teams made their presence felt early with a blocked punt by rookie cornerback Justin Hardee, who took it in for the score. That touchdown and an earlier Wil Lutz field goal gave the Saints an early 9-0 lead.
On the negative side, the Saints turned the ball over twice, once in each half, leading to both of the Tampa Bay scores.
The Saints came out throwing against Tampa Bay's 30th-ranked passing defense, taking the opening kickoff and driving 58 yards, capped by a 40-yard Lutz field goal and an early 3-0 lead. Brees was 6 for 7 in the drive, accounting for all but 10 yards in the drive.
The defense then recorded a three-and-out, followed by Hardee's blocked punt TD and a 9-0 lead. The PAT was blocked.
Kamara coughed up the ball during a promising Saints drive midway through the second quarter, leading to a Tampa Bay field goal that cut the lead to 9-3.
Kamara made up for the misstep and then some right before halftime with a nifty 33-yard catch and run to put the Saints up 16-3. Kamara accounted for 67 of the Saints 93 yards on that scoring drive.
Kamara added his second touchdown on a 6-yard run in the Saints' first drive of the second half, making it 23-3. And Brees found Tedd Ginn Jr. for a 36-yard strike to extend the lead to 30-3 in the third.
Willie Snead muffed a punt midway through the fourth, creating a turnover that the Bucs took advantage of for a touchdown to make it 30-10.
The game was just the Saints' second against an NFC South opponent this season, and it leads into a critical stretch for New Orleans. Next up is a road trip to Buffalo, followed by a home game against the Redskins and a road trip to face the much-improved Rams. Then the season ends with four of five games against division opponents.
Sunday offered a chance for the division-leading Saints to separate from the rest of the pack. New Orleans started the day a half-game ahead of the Panthers, a game ahead of the Falcons and three games ahead of the Bucs.
The victory extended the Saints' winning streak to six, something that has been done just five times in the team's first 50 years. Their five-game winning streak was the league's second-longest active streak behind the Philadelphia Eagles.