Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Koetter – Winston was Bucs difference maker Sunday

(Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire)


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.’’

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