Buccaneers TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins celebrates his TD Sunday. – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Receivers, tight ends, running backs – everyone found themselves in Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston’s crosshairs Sunday afternoon.
The Bucs’ second-year quarterback spread the love around during a Week 1 victory in Atlanta, targeting eight different receivers and connecting with all of them at least once. There were dump-offs, there were intermediate routes over the middle or on the edges, and then there were the deep balls.
Mike Evans caught a Jameis Winston TD pass against the Falcons. – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
In total, Winston completed 12 passes on 17 attempts to wideouts, five on six attempts to tight ends and all eight to running backs Doug Martin and Charles Sims. Each position group also got in on the scoring, as well, with touchdowns going to tight ends Brandon Myers and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, receiver Mike Evans and running back Charles Sims.
If Winston wraps up all his days completing nearly 70 percent of his throws (23 of 33) and keeps on meting them out amongst his teammates in similar fashion, head coach Dirk Koetter will be a happy man. But the fact that Sunday worked out the way it did isn’t exactly by design, the coach said.
“I never think of it that way, ever,” Koetter said Monday from the podium at One Buc Place. “It’s great when it works out.”
Once halftime rolled around Sunday, Winston had already hit seven different players for 151 yards. What Winston and the offense hadn’t done enough of, Koetter said, was get balls to the Bucs’ top playmakers.
“I like the fact that the ball gets moved around, but, to be honest with you at halftime when the offensive coaches were meeting, I said we have to get the ball to Mike Evans more,” Koetter said. “We didn’t target Mike enough in the first half. We did a lot better job in the second half and that’s my fault, not anybody else’s.”
Evans finished the game with 99 yards and a touchdown on seven targets and five catches but had only two passes come his way in the first 30 minutes. He caught one for four yards.
Teams can’t go into games targeting exactly how often their stars get the ball, Koetter said, but letting them get lost in the mix can’t happen, either.
“Sometimes when you have your superstar-type players, your big-name players, you’ve got to just force the ball to them … not force the ball, but you’ve got to try to get the ball to them a little more and we didn’t do a good enough job of that,” the offensive coordinator-turned-head coach said. “Again, all on me as far as Mike, but I think we have a lot of guys that can contribute and they did. We tell the guys all the time, you’ve got to make your plays. You’ve got to make your plays when they come up. So the guys did a good job of that.”
Bucs QB Jameis Winston threw 4 TDs in Atlantas – Photo by: Getty Images
After seeing his targets and catches increase, Evans again showed the big-play, game-breaking potential he brings to this Bucs offense when he hauled in a spectacular 45-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. The third-year pro would catch one more pass after that score and finish a yard shy of 100 yards for the second time in as many regular season games.
Evans ended up with 99 yards on four catches during last year’s season finale in Carolina. Now he’ll have to wait until next Sunday in Arizona to try and push his career total of 100-yard games to nine.
Makes it tough to defend when there is such a great distribution of balls to varying positions.
Unlike Atlanta where if you take Julio Jones out of the game you are pretty much shutting down the Falcons attack.
Also shows the maturation of Jameis Winston who is going through his progressions and the offensive line who is allowing him the time to do it.
Everyone this week is saying the Bucs should be intimidated by the Cards and their weapons but maybe it should be the other way around.
The Cards couldn’t shut down a QB in his first NFL start and although their defense harassed him a bit, they weren’t very effective in putting steady pressure on him which is a problem they had last year until they picked up Dwight Feeney.
If the Bucs O Line can keep the pressure off Winston, they will no doubt continue to have the same headaches they had last week.
I think the fact that Winston can run and use his feet to get out of trouble helps too. He is nice to have around when the OL is struggling because he can avoid the sack with his feet. He seems to be just as accurate with the ball on the run as he is in the pocket. Him and Evans are going to grow up together on this team.
I’m not concerned with the Offense; I’m more concerned that we really do have a DL rush. We’ll know Sunday because the Cardinals are very beatable if we put pressure on Carson. go Bucs!
It looked like Atlantas game plan the first half was to take away evans. He wasnt open much the first half. The 2nd half atlanta made some adjustments that freed up Evans more. You dont force throws to your playmakers when you have other players open. I know there was a couple throws in the 2nd half that Winston forced the ball to Evans when he had VJ wide open across the field. Really cant complain about a W though. Good job Bucs
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