Bucs finally outlast Rams in offensive explosion

by Gary Shelton on September 30, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Monday, 4 a.m.

Winston threw for 385 yards in the defeat.:© Joe Mestas

Fireworks. There should have been fireworks.

And a marching band. And a laser show. And trained monkeys and jugglers and a tight rope act.

After all, Sunday's game by the Tampa Bay Bucs had everything else.

Great plays. Huge yardage. Dumb penalties. Great quarterbacking. Clutch drives and big plays and Ndamukong Suh in the open field. More plays by Shaq Barrett. Terrific receivers.

There were 95 points scored. There was 912 yards worth of passing. There were 63 first downs. There were 205 yards worth of penalties. There were three 100-yard receivers. There were two 58-yard field goals.

And when it was over, and when you had caught your breath, the Bucs had beaten the previously undefeated Rams, 55-40.

And when have you seen a better offensive performance?

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Godwin caught 12 passes to lead the Bucs./TIM WIRT

The Bucs, one week after a soul-wrenching defeat at the hands of the Giants, bounced back with one of their best offensive performances. Jameis Winston threw for 385 yards, and Chris Godwin caught 12 passes for 173 yards, and Ronald Jones ran for 70 yards (although he had runs of 25 and 54 yards called back). Matt Gay was perfect. Shaq Barrett had his league-leading ninth sack (and an interception).

It was a roller-coaster ride. It was a pinball game. It was a wind sprint.

So how did the Bucs win this?

They won it with turnovers, intercepting three passes and scoring on a sack-fumble forced by Barrett that Suh returned 37 yards against his old team.

They won it with balance. The Rams didn't really try to run. Los Angeles ran it only 11 times on the afternoon.

Barrett has been a star for the Bucs./Photo By:© Joe Mestas

They won it with precision. Winston had a rating of 120.5, the third straight time he has been above 100. Being Winston, he still threw a six-pick, giving his critics something to gripe about, but for the afternoon, he was very good.

They won it with resiliency. They led 21-0, but the Rams got to within 21-14. They led 38-20 entering the fourth quarter, but the Rams came back to within 48-40 and had the ball. Each time, the Bucs pulled further ahead.

"We finished," said quarterback Jameis Winston.

They won it in all the ways they lost it last week. Once the Giants started their comeback, the Bucs demonstrated that they simply didn't know how to win. Perhaps this was a stride toward that.

They won it on the big plays. The Bucs were five of six in the red zone, and they were eight of 13 on third down.

"We know it's going to come down to the last five minutes of the game," said coach Bruce Arians, "whether we played well or not. We did today, and we're learning. I think we did offensively what we had to do.

"This team is starting to see what it can be. This game could easily have gone the other way. We found a way to win it. We've got to learn to play at home because we're pretty good on the road."

Only once before has Winston had three straight games with grades more than 100, but in one those games, Ryan Fitzpatrick actually played more than he did. He still isn't perfect. But he's better than a lot of people give him credit for being.

"Jameis has played extremely well since the first week," Arians said. "Even on the interception. We was trying to throw it in there, and I don't blame him He's got the talent to do it. He's just got to get it a little higher."

Despite the turnover, it was one of Winston's most impressive afternoons of making plays. The same is true of Barrett.

"We've got to be able to win games like this, but we don't want to have to win games like this," Barrett said. "I don't like giving up 40 points. That's what you do in college."

The Bucs travel to New Orleans to play Sunday. Game time is 1 p.m.

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