Jameis Winston tied an NFL rookie record with five touchdown passes, Doug Martin carved up the Eagles defense for 235 rushing yards and Tampa Bay slammed Philadelphia on the road, 45-17.
The victory gets the Bucs to 5-5 overall and back to .500 this late in a season for the first time since 2012.
“We’ve seen progress from our team for a while but you want to see it on Sunday,” Bucs head coach Lovie Smith said. “Most things came together today. It was an outstanding job by the group.”
Sunday’s scoring outburst of 45 points, capped by linebacker Lavonte David’s 20-yard pick-6 of Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez, is the most any Bucs team has registered since beating Oakland 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII.
After falling behind 7-0 on the game’s opening possession, Winston and the Bucs rattled off three unanswered touchdowns before heading into halftime up 28-14
Adding to the impressiveness of Winston’s 19-for-29, 246-yard passing day was that he hit five different receivers with each of his touchdowns. The rookie connected with Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, Russell Shepard, Charles Sims and Cameron Brate.
“It just shows how we get everyone the ball,” Winston said after the game. “Coach [Dirk] Koetter definitely does not discriminate at all. He wants everyone to touch the ball and he called a great game.”
Setting up many of those scores was Martin, who recorded his second 200-plus-yard game of his four-year career. His 235 yards on 27 carries came up 16 yards shy of his career-best performance of 251 yards against Oakland in 2012. The highlight of Martin’s day full of nice runs was an 84-yard burst on the first play of a mid-second quarter drive that set up Winston’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Shepard.
“Hats off to the offensive line and Doug Martin,” Winston said. “When you establish that run game like that it’s hard to defend us.”
Martin is now closing in on his second 1,000-yard season and will enter next week’s game in Indianapolis with 941.
The Bucs set a season-high with 521 total offensive yards, outgained Philadelphia by 138 and didn’t commit a single turnover. The only time Tampa Bay gave away possession came in the first quarter when the team barely had it to begin with. Bucs defensive end Jacquies Smith recovered a DeMarco Murray fumble that was caused by Will Gholston, but he coughed it right back up.
More impactful were the three interceptions of Sanchez that came throughout the game. David’s late-game pick-6 was his second interception of the day. The linebacker’s first ended a potential scoring threat before halftime as he dove across the middle to grab it the Bucs 26-yard line. Safety Chris Conte picked off Sanchez early in the fourth quarter as Tampa Bay was well in control of the game.
“Lavonte David’s an outstanding player,” Lovie Smith said. “You’ve just got to keep making tackles until you have a game like he had today.”
The Bucs have now registered 20 turnovers on the season and at least one in all 10 games.
Conte and linebacker Kwon Alexander led all defensive players with 10 tackles each, but the performance was bittersweet for the latter. News came out earlier in the day that Alexander is facing a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drug use.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy stepped up to record 1.5 sacks Sunday and three tackles. The sacks snapped a four-game drought and push McCoy’s season total to six. Tampa Bay finished with three sacks. Howard Jones got one and Jacquies Smith was credited with a half-sack.
The Bucs defense frustrated Sanchez and the Eagles throughout most of the game and never allowed Philadelphia into the red zone. Winston and the Bucs, however, scored touchdowns on five of their six trips inside the Eagles 20. Another point of efficiency came on third downs, with the Bucs converting 10 of 16 chances (63 percent).
Tampa Bay’s second straight victory coupled with Atlanta’s home loss to Indianapolis gets the Bucs within a game of the Falcons in the NFC South standings. Next week brings another road game as Tampa Bay travels to Indianapolis for its final game against AFC South opponents.
“This week we talked a lot about back-to-back wins,” Lovie Smith said. “I know that’s small to everybody else, but for us it’s something we haven’t done in a long time. We get to .500 … we’ve talked a lot about being relevant again. I think we’re relevant.”
Tampa Bay goes back on the road next week when it travels to Indianapolis for its fourth and final game against AFC South opponents. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
WR Vincent Jackson, LT Donovan Smith, LG Logan Mankins, C Joe Hawley, RG Evan Smith, RT Gosder Cherilus, TE Luke Stocker, TE Brandon Myers, WR Mike Evans, QB Jameis Winston, RB Doug Martin
DE Will Gholston, DT Gerald McCoy, DT Akeem Spence, DE Jacquies Smith, SLB danny Lansanah, MLB Kwon Alexander, WLB Lavonte David, CB Sterling Moore, CB Jude Adjei-Barimah, SS Chris Conte, FS Bradley McDougald
QB Ryan Griffin, WR Donteea Dye, S Kimario McFadden, OL Ali Marpet, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, DE Josh Shirley, DE George Johnson
DID NOT PLAY
QB Mike Glennon
Paid attendance: 69,596, Lincoln Financial Field
Game time: 3:13