Winston TDs highlight Saints’ 23-21 preseason win over Jags

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New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) reacts after throwing a touchdown pass in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in New Orleans, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jameis Winston completed touchdown passes of 43 and 29 yards to second-year pro Marquez Callaway, and the New Orleans Saints defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-21 in a preseason game on Monday night.

Winston completed nine of 10 passes for 123 yards without an interception, bolstering his candidacy to succeed NFL all-time leading passer Drew Brees as the Saints’ new starter.

Winston is competing for the job with Taysom Hill, who went 3-1 as a starter while Brees was injured last season. Hill passed for 138 yards and a touchdown against Jacksonville.

Both clubs are in the midst of quarterback competitions, supplying the game with more intrigue than a typical preseason contest.

No. 1 overall draft choice Trevor Lawrence got the start over incumbent Gardner Minshew and played the first half, going 14 for 23 for 113 yards behind an offensive line featuring three backups — including rookie Walker Little at left tackle.

Lawrence led one scoring drive that ended with a field goal.

His final series stalled when he was sacked for a 9-yard loss by Jalen Dalton at the Saints’ 25. The drive ended with Josh Lambo missing a 43-yard field goal attempt off the upright.

Hill played the majority of the first half and the third quarter, completing 11 of 20 passes. His first two series ended with sacks by Jihad Ward and Dawuane Smoot. His first scoring drive culminated with former Jaguars kicker Aldrick Rosas hitting a 52-yard field goal as the second quarter ended, widening the Saints’ lead to 17-3.

Hill’s touchdown went for 14 yards to Lil’Jordan Humphrey to make it 23-3.

Minshew played most of the second half, completing 13 of 21 passes for 149 yards before his night ended when he was intercepted by linebacker Wynton McManis while throwing off his back foot during a scramble on second-and-goal from the 2.

C.J. Beathard had the best night of the Jags QBs statistically, passing for touchdowns of 3 yards to Jeff Cotton and 24 yards to Collin Johnson in the final six minutes.

CATCHING ON

Callaway had the crowd gasping in amazement when they saw replays of his touchdown catches. He snagged the first — his longer of the two — with a diving catch between two defenders after he’d been interfered with from behind by rookie Tyson Campbell.

His second TD came on a one-handed catch over his outside shoulder along the sideline.

Callaway, who played in 11 regular-season games with three starts as an undrafted rookie out of Tennessee in 2020, beat seasoned veteran Shaquill Griffin on both scores. Griffin, formerly with Seattle, was among the Jaguars’ most significant acquisitions in free agency, signing a three-year deal worth up to $40 million.

BAD MEMORIES

The Superdome has not been kind to Lawrence. He has played there three times since his Clemson days and lost each time, starting with the 2019 national title game against LSU, followed by a 2020 semifinal setback against Ohio State.

INJURIES

Jaguars: Running back Travis Etienne left with an apparent foot injury. Those not in uniform because of injuries were receiver DJ Chark (finger), cornerback Tre Herndon (knee), edge rusher Josh Allen (COVID-19), center Brandon Linder (knee) and guard Andrew Norwell (elbow).

Saints: Second-year tight end Adam Trautman, a projected starter this season, was taken to the locker room during the first half with an apparent lower-body injury which the club did not disclose. Reserve defensive back Bryce Thompson limped off the field in the fourth quarter.

UP NEXT

Jaguars: Conclude the preseason Sunday at Dallas.

Saints: Wrap up their preseason slate at home Saturday night against Arizona.

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