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Saints' Mark Ingram Apologizes for Failing to Get Late 1st Down vs. Buccaneers

Adam WellsDecember 6, 2022

TAMPA, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 05: Mark Ingram II #22 of the New Orleans Saints warms up prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 05, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram took the blame for his team's 17-16 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night.

In a Twitter post after the game, Ingram apologized to his teammates for failing to get a crucial first down after catching a pass on 2nd-and-8 midway through the fourth quarter.

Mark Ingram II @markingramII

Im sick about this one. Regardless of circumstances or how I feel I have to get that fresh set of downs for the squad. I apologize to my teammates my coaches and my city for a crucial mistake. We work way too hard and sacrifice blood sweat and tears. I will be better. ⚜️🖤

Ingram caught a pass from Andy Dalton and appeared as if he could have picked up an additional yard or two for a first down, but he elected to step out of bounds short of the sticks.

Dalton's third-down pass to Marquez Callaway was incomplete. Saints head coach Dennis Allen elected to punt the ball away from the Bucs' 44-yard line with 5:31 left to play.

Tom Brady led the Bucs on a 10-play, 91-yard touchdown drive that cut the deficit to 16-10 with three minutes left in regulation.

The Saints offense went three-and-out on its next possession, giving Tampa the ball back with 2:29 on the clock. Brady hit Rachaad White for a six-yard touchdown with three seconds left to give the Bucs a comeback win.

Jeff Duncan @JeffDuncan_

The Saints had a 98.7 win probability before Mark Ingram ran out of bounds 1 yards short of a first down on the second-and-8 play around the 6-minute mark of the fourth quarter.

This was Ingram's second game back after he missed four weeks with a sprained MCL suffered during the Saints' 24-0 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Oct. 30.

It's unclear if Ingram's decision may have been an attempt to protect himself from being hit. Bucs linebacker Devin White was bearing down on him before he stepped out of bounds.

It's certainly not entirely Ingram's fault that New Orleans lost the game, either. Allen's decision to punt on the same drive cost his team 12.7 percent win probability, per NumberFire.com.

New Orleans' offense also came away with three field goals in each of its three red-zone trips against the Bucs defense.

Despite entering the game with a 4-8 record, the Saints were very much alive in the playoff race because the NFC South has been a mess. They would have gone into their Week 14 bye with the same number of wins as the Bucs (five) and just one game back in the loss column if they had been able to hold on.

Now, the Saints are effectively four games behind the Bucs after being swept in the two-game season series with four games to play.