Winston helps Bucs escape from his own mess

by Gary Shelton on December 9, 2019

in general

Evans pulls a muscle as he scores on a 61-yard touchdown./JEFFREY S. KING

Monday, 4 p.m.

In the end, good Jameis was just a little bit better than bad Jamies.

Good Jameis came back from 14 points down,with a bad hand, with his favorite reciever hurt. Bad Jameis threw for a career-high 458 yards and four touchdowns, the last one to Breshad Perriman. Good Jameis set a new career yardage record and overcame threw embarrassing interceptions and won his sixth game of the season, as many as he has won the last two seasons combined. Good Jamies completed his seventh fourth quarter comeback behind a battered offensive line.

Bad Jamies? He threw three more picks. Of course he did. He had another one returned for a touchdown. He helped dig his team a hole that it barely escaped from. Few quarterbacks would have escaped from the straight jacket he put his team in. Fortunately for the Bucs, Winston is one of them.

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Winston threw for a career-high 456 yards and led his team to a comeback./JEFFREY S. KING

“It’s a damn good thing I’m a young, healthy man as coaching the nicest team in the league," said Bucs' coach Bruce Arians. "We just love spotting fifteen, seventeen points to the other team and then coming back to beat them. It was a crazy game. I felt at halftime, once we got it back to a score, we were in good shape. You probably thought I was hollering a cussing. I didn’t have to because some veterans did that for me. It didn’t all go great in the second half. But, we were able to stick together, make a turnover, get good pressure on the field goal miss, and go down and score to win the game. The resiliency of this team is growing on me. Three [wins] in a row. That’s a good football team [that is] missing some guys. But, we made a couple of receivers look like [former Colts’ wide receivers] Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. It wasn’t our best, but we won – that’s nice.”

Arians said the second interception would have crushed most quarterbacks.

“I haven’t been around too many (that have) overcome it," Arians said. "That usually crushes a guy. The first one, we have 50 minutes – let’s go. But, the second one, after we created the turnover and give it back, to then go down to win the game just speaks a lot about the guy’s character.”

Perriman catches the winning touchdown./JEFFREY S. KING

The thumb injury could have shelved him, too.

“He was fine at halftime," Arians said. "Then when he went to go grip the ball, he couldn’t grip it. So, they X-rayed his thumb and he’s got a little, bitty fracture – nothing serious. He was able to get his strength back and come back in.”

"It was by the grace of God," Winston said. "He willed me through.

“Think about the day. Starting left tackle got banged up. One of the best receivers in the world is out and I hurt my thumb a little bit and we still pulled this game off. We had key guys – Breshad Perriman and Justin Watson. The running game was efficient today. Our offensive line, they pulled together and they led the charge and that’s why we won this game offensively. The defense did their part. We’ve got a bunch of great leaders on the defensive side of the ball that got some great stops for us."

Evans pulled a hamstring on his 61-yard touchdown pass and missed the rest of the game. Even without him, the Bucs gained 562 yards of offense. They need most of it so Quarterback Jeckell could overcome Quarterback Hyde.

It was Winston's third game when he has passed for more than 400 yards, but the first time the Bucs have won.

It's only the second three-game winning streak of Winston's career. The first was a five-game streak in his second season.

Watson catches his first touchdown catch./JEFFREY S. KING

Meanwhile,. the Bucs have won three in a row and four of their last five. They have a chance to get to .500 next week when they travel to Detroit.

Rookie Devin White reminds his teammates to play smarter.

“It was just we were playing dumb, that’s all we came in and talked about," White said. "The whole thing was just play one play at a time and when we went back out to play a smarter second half than we did first half. I think we did that, even on the defensive side of the ball. At the end of the half we were in Cover 2 and we give up the deep ball. [There is] nothing coach [Todd] Bowles can put us in that’s better than that. It’s just playing dumb football and being too relaxed. I think we didn’t respect them as a whole. I think we just felt like we could come out here and dominate, which we should. We’re supposed to have that approach week in and week out. At the end of the day we have to respect our opponent, but we’ve got to make them respect us as well by going out there and dominating them.”

Edwards recovers key fumble for Bucs' defense./JEFFREY KING

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