Bucs come from behind to defeat Cardinals

by Gary Shelton on November 11, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Dean's interception led to the Bucs' victory./TIM WIRT

Monday, 4 a.m.

The quarterback who usually gets lost in the fourth quarter found his way.

A cornerback whose jersey was still on fire from the previous game was a star.

The rookie who rarely throws interceptions did.

And, the most surprising thing of all? The Tampa Bay Bucs finally won a game.

The Bucs held off the Arizona Cardinals, 30-27, when turnover-prone quarterback Jameis Winston -- the Xerox machine of the NFL -- led a 92-yard drive for the winning points.

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Winston led the Bucs from behind./JEFFREY S. KING

That came after Jamel Dean, victimized by Seattle's Russell Wilson the week before, intercepted an Arizona pass at the Bucs' eight-yard line as the Cardinals were driving for the clinching score. Dean also knocked away the final pass of the game.

It was the Bucs' first victory in five weeks. It was the second lowest-points total for an opponent all season.

"Offensively, we can talk about turnovers," said coach Bruce Arians. "We can talk about penalties. But, again, we made the plays to win the game. Putting that many points on the board, you should win the game.

Evans caught four passes for 83 yards./CARMEN MANDATO

"Defensively, we're still a work in progress, bug I like the fact that we're in here celebrating and we're making them better. Can't be happier for anyone more than Dean -- wins the game. Las week, he's he goat. He's going to be a hell of a player."

The game was a summation of the career of Jameis Winston. Again, he had turnovers -- he threw two interceptions and fumbled once (recovered by a teammate). But he threw for 385 yards and recorded his sixth comeback victory. It was his first since October of last year against Cleveland.

“One thing about Jameis I love is he goes to the next play," Arians said. "Whatever happens, good, bad, or ugly, he goes to the next play. He’s really become a really good pro that way -- water off his back. Our defense came in and did a really good job of holding him to three. It wasn’t that bad.”

David had a huge turnover for Bucs./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

The Bucs limited the damage after Winston's interceptions. They held Arizona to three points combined. After the second one, Lavonte David took the ball back on a fumble.

"It was huge," Arians said. "Huge. to turn it over and take it right back, that's Lavonte. If there is one guy we a count on to go and make a play when it's crunch time, it's him."

The Bucs won despite a few Buc-like performances. For instance, they stopped the Cardinals' last-minute drive, but Vernon Hargreaves was called for pass interference on fourth-and-five. They gave up three touchdown passes to Christian Kirk, including a 69-yarder. They gave up 324 yards to Murray. They allowed a fake punt to be completed for 26 yards. They had 94 yards in penalties.

Having a rebound game was Dean, who was burned last week against Seattle.

After last week, I realized I had to prepare differently," Dean said. "The whole week, I’m watching extra film, I’m going up to Coach (Todd) Bowles’ office, just going over film and letting him teach me the game, because honestly, I didn’t want to have that feeling I did last week.

“I feel like I really had a chip on my shoulder because I knew last week, that was not me, because I knew I was better than that. So, once I got the opportunity to go back out there and redeem myself, I had to make sure I took that opportunity and had to seize the moment.”

It helped that they were playing the Cardinals, who dropped a sure touchdown and blew their drive at the end of the game.

Arians said he benched Vernon Hargreaves for a lack of hustle.

"He was chasing someone across he held and he wasn't running fast enough," Arians said.

Winston was happy to see the big play by Dean.

"Perseverance, right?" Winston said. "When a lot of people [are] on your back and you get kind of hesitant, you end up making a play like that, giving your team a chance to win. So, kudos to him for just keeping his faith and going out there and playing great football.”

Winston also felt for Ronald Jones III, who had a late fumble.

“My main thing in that situation is continue to believe," Winston said. "To RoJo, I brought the guys on the sideline and singled him out [saying], ‘RoJo, we have your back, alright? I make a lot of mistakes, but you don’t see me hanging my head. You will make a big play for us.’ He has been making big plays for us this whole year. So, it was big for him to be resilient, but him and Peyton Barber, they’ve been batting all year and they’ve been doing an incredible job. That shouts out to our running back coach (Todd McNair) for keeping everybody engaged and ready to play.” 

Winston said a lot of fingerprints were on the win.

:Complementary football is the way that this team won today," Winston said. "If we had to take the ball away from them, we took the ball away from them. If we had to make a clutch third down, we willed a way to make the clutch third down. If we had to drive the ball 92 yards for a touchdown, we drove the ball 92 yards for a touchdown. So, I think this was a great complementary-football win, and that’s how you win in this league. No matter how you win, as long as you win, everyone’s happy, but the other team.” 

The Bucs are home againstthe New Orleans Saints on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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