TAMPA – You wouldn’t have known it from the reaction of a lot of their fans, but the play of quarterback Jameis Winston was among the least of the Buccaneers problems during their 30-27 loss at Buffalo last week.
The fact the Bucs scored 27 points, all by the offense, should tell you that. After all, anytime a team puts 27 points on the board, you can pretty much guess the quarterback played well enough to win.
That was certainly the case for Winston against the Bills, who came into the game ranked second in the league in pass defense but saw Winston complete 32 of 44 passes for 384 yards and three touchdowns.
Yes, there was a pick in there as well and it came as a result of a poor decision, but Winston’s 112.3 passer rating for the day was his second best of the year behind the 113.0 mark he put up against the Giants.
“Yeah, I thought Jameis really played pretty well,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Monday in the wake of the loss. “He did have an ill-advised interception there before the half, but we were kind of nickel and diming it on the two previous plays there and then he tried to force one in there. Luckily that particular one didn’t hurt us.
“But the fact that Jameis wasn’t able to throw on Wednesday and Thursday (because of a sore right shoulder) and then to come out there and play like he did (with) the number of explosive plays we had (and) then you look at his numbers in the second half and yeah, I thought Jameis played pretty well.’’
Winston was near perfect in the second half, completing 17-of-20 passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns, and let’s not forget that it was the third of those touchdown passes that gave the Bucs a 27-20 lead with 3:14 to play.
Had the Bucs defense held, it would have gone down as another fourth-quarter comeback for Winston, who at one point last week didn’t look like he’d be able to make the start.
Winston now ranks 10th overall in the league in passing yards between Drew Brees (No. 9) and Kirk Cousins (No. 11) with 1,643 and his 95.5 passer rating is 11th best among all QBs who have thrown at least 170 passes.
And for those who think he’s still not accurate enough, his completion percentage is now at 63.0, which is 3-percent higher than the 60.2 career mark he came into the season with.
That’s not a great mark, but it is a solid mark and right along with the yardage total, the passer rating and the fact he’s thrown just four interceptions, the same as Brees, Derek Carr and Carson Wentz, it’s one of the reasons the Bucs have the NFL’s top-rated passing offense.
That’s right, the Bucs are throwing for an average of 312.3 yards per game, best in the league and have four receivers with more than 250 receiving yards.
Add it all up and it’s proof that despite their 2-4 record, Winston’s play is one of the few things the the Bucs needn’t be concerned about right now.
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