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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Koetter – Winston was Bucs difference maker Sunday

Roy Cummings

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(Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire)
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TAMPA – The Buccaneers have won two of their three games so far this year. They’re going to win a lot more if quarterback Jameis Winston continues to play the way he did in beating the Giants on Sunday.

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter guarantees it.

 “Jameis did a great job,’’ Koetter said after Winston led the fourth-quarter rally that sparked the Bucs 25-23 victory. “When Jameis plays like that, we’re going to be hard to beat.’’

The fourth-quarter comeback was the seventh Winston has engineered in his three years under center for the Bucs and it was an impressive one, with Winston completing all five of his passes for 55 yards.

Winston also scrambled 7 yards for a first down on the second play of the drive, which culminated in kicker Nick Folk hitting on a 34-yard field goal for the game-winning points.

“You hear stats about how many fourth-quarter comebacks (a quarterback has), but I’d rather we had fourth-quarter leads and held them,’’ Koetter said. “But you’ll sure take it.’’

One of the big reasons they took this one was because it wasn’t just Winston’s work in the fourth quarter that was so impressive. Equally impressive was how Winston executed the offense the first three quarters.

Though he was off the mark enough on his throws to DeSean Jackson to upset him, Winston was extremely sharp with his throws to everyone else on the team and his decision-making was exquisite.

Overall, he completed 22-of-38 passes for 332 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions on a day when he produced a passer rating of 113.0, the seventh best of his career.

According to Pro Football Focus, Winston was “a force’’ when he was given time in the pocket, completing 18-of-28 passes for 294 yards and all three touchdowns for a passer rating of 135.1.

He was especially effective hitting on the intermediate throws he made, connecting on seven of the 12 passes he threw to targets between 10 and 19 yards downfield for 119 yards and two touchdowns.

Winston was good on the deep ball as well. He hit on three of the five passes he threw 20-or-more yards downfield, gaining another 127 yards and producing another touchdown through those.

“Yeah, like I said, Jameis did a nice job tonight,’’ Koetter said. “Jameis was the difference maker for us on offense tonight. No doubt about that.’’

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs-Winston overcome miscues to win third straight

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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It wasn’t easy and there were plenty of self-inflicted mistakes, but the Bucs found a way to come from behind, and defeat the Colts for a third consecutive victory Sunday.

Tampa Bay turned the ball over four times and found themselves trailing by double-figure twice, but QB Jameis Winston threw the go-ahead touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman with under four minutes to play and the Buccaneers defense held up to improve their record to 6 – 7.

On a day in which Winston threw for a career-high 456 yards, it actually started horribly This as, he threw an interception, once again, on the opening possession of the game. Darius Leonard’s pick  led to a Jacoby Brissett 48 yard touchdown to Marcus Williams and a quick 7-0 lead. It was the third time in five games that Winston has thrown an int on the first Bucs drive.

Winston threw another interception later in the second quarter that was returned by Leonard 80 yards for a score and the Colts led 24-14.

Undaunted, Winston continued to gun-sling finishing 456 yards passing for a career-high yardage and four touchdowns, including a second half score to reserve receiver Justin Watson. And then, he threw the eventual  game-winning 12 yarder to Perriman.

The Colts gave away two opportunities to potentially put the game away. First, when backup running back Nyheim Hines fumbled inside the Tampa Bay 20 with 10 minutes remaining, and then, later new rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin ,who replaced Adam Vinatieri who’s dealing with an injured knee, hit the right upright on 47 yard field goal that would have put in the Colts up by 7 late in the game.

Winston led the go-ahead drive from there, going 63 yards in eight plays and including converting a fourth down with a pass of 4 yards to Dare Ogunbawale. The touchdown to Perriman came on the very next play.

Tampa Bay stopped Brissett and the Colts on fourth down at midfiled with 1:45 remaining, when DE Jason Pierre Paul hit the QB’s arm. The ball fluttered in the air, Brissett caught it and then desperately and illegally tried to throw it a second time forward to another teammate. That pass was incomplete.

The Bucs ran out the clock for their second win at home this season.

The Buccaneers playoff hopes were dashed even in victory, though, as the Minnesota Vikings won their 10th game on Sunday. That means that even if the Buccaneers win out, they can no longer catch the Vikes in the NFC race.

Still, first year Bruce Arians team is certainly playing hard, and at the right times with three games to go

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs looking for three in row leads our primer

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Week 14 of the NFL sees two Florida teams at home and the other one facing a familiar foe in New York. The Bucs try to make it three wins in a row hosting the Colts, the Dolphins travel to play the Jets and the Jaguars have gone back to their rookie QB, while hosting the Chargers.

First in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers come off of back-to-back road wins, where they accumulated 11 sacks and six turnovers defeating Atlanta and Jacksonville. They will take on another AFC South opponent in the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are stumbling with three losses in their last four games and have fallen out of the AFC Wildcard picture for the moment.

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has played better over the course of the last two games, but returns to Raymond James Stadium, where he threw four interceptions it a loss to the Saints three weeks ago. Winston is working with two of the premier receivers in the NFL in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin (above) who both have over a thousand yards this season and look to have a big day today.

The Colts have had success this season with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback and want to run the ball against what is the best run defense in the NFL, the Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay must win to keep slim playoff hopes alive trying to get into a 9 – 7 tiebreaker in the NFC Playoff Picture.

Next, the Dolphins come off a euphoric 37 – 31 win over the Eagles at home for their third win of the season. DeVante Parker had his best game as a Dolphin catching three touchdown passes. And, Miami scored on a trick play that saw punter Matt Haack throw a touchdown pass to kicker Jason Sanders. They now rematch AFC East rival the Jets who were humbled a week ago, as Cincinnati earned their first win of the season at their expense.

The Dolphins also defeated the Jets, and former coach Adam Gase, at home earlier this year

Finally in Jacksonville, the Jaguars have turned back to rookie QB Gardner Minshew. After three dismal offensive showings in a row under free agent Nick Foles, Minshew replaced him in the second half of last week. And, he sparked the Jaguars to a field goal and a touchdown in their 28 – 11 beat down by the Buccaneers.

The rookie did win four games in Foles’ absence due to his broken collarbone earlier this year. Fortunately for Jacksonville, the Chargers come in reeling having lost dramatically in Denver a week ago and questions are swirling whether it is the end of the tenure of Philip Rivers at quarterback.

Jacksonville’s defense is beaten up, including putting Myles Jack on injured reserve earlier this week with an injured kneed.

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