Bucs WR Vincent Jackson - Photo by: Getty Images
It got scary toward the end but Tampa Bay bounced back from last week’s flop by picking up its first win in the Jameis Winston era.
The Bucs led for almost all of Sunday’s game in New Orleans and held on to beat the Saints 26-19. That advantage was built up to as much as 16 points late in the third quarter but Tampa Bay didn’t get to celebrate putting an end to its seven-game losing streak against the Saints until Drew Brees’ Hail Mary failed to connect with a teammate.
“We continue to preach that this is the 2015 version of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” head coach Lovie Smith said. “Before today we were just 0-1 with a disappointing loss. For us and the guys that have been around here, we needed to be in a tough, close game and pull it out in the end.”
Winston finished his promising day going 14 of 21 for 207 yards passing and connected on a well-thrown 15-yard touchdown to receiver Vincent Jackson in the back of the end zone. The rookie signal caller scored again in the third quarter with his feet, jogging easily across the goal line from one yard out on a play-action bootleg to his left.
“It’s important to these guys because winning is contagious,” Winston said of the victory. “I don’t think people realize how hard winning is in this league. Those guys put in the effort, they worked hard. We came in and worked hard. It would be easy for us to say, ‘oh, we got blown out last week, let’s go in the tank.’ No, those guys fought hard, bounced back and we got us a win against a very good team.”
Tampa Bay found itself playing from behind right off the bat last week and Smith said Sunday’s stronger opening quarter helped Winston play with confidence and not press.
“I think it helps to get off to a good start and not get in a hole right away,” Smith said of this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick. “You get in a hole, a lot of things can go south. He did a lot of things. I think he’ll like a lot of things he’ll see on film this week.”
Shortly after the Bucs tightened their grip with kicker Kyle Brindza’s 22-yard chip shot to go up 23-7, a stretch of sloppy play allowed New Orleans to creep back within striking distance. Brees and the Saints were by no means impressive on offense, but Bucs turnovers on back-to-back possessions opened the door for 12 unanswered points with over 7 minutes still to play.
Brindza’s 30-yard field goal with 1:51 left pushed Tampa Bay’s lead to 26-19 and Brees, who was off-target all day, had his final drive stall out at the Bucs 27. A rookie out of Notre Dame, Brindza hit four of his five field goal attempts, including a 55-yarder to open the game’s scoring. His miss was from 52.
After stressing turnovers and splash plays all summer, the Bucs defense responded Sunday by forcing four fumbles and recovering two, picking off Brees once and sacking him four times. Defensive end Jacquies Smith turned in a monster performance by recording three of those sacks and forcing two Brees fumbles.
Another point of emphasis was finding a steady, consistent rushing attack and Tampa Bay succeeded on that front, as well. Doug Martin’s 21-carry, 78-yard performance was far from dominant but helped pace the Bucs to 139 rushing yards and a 333-323 edge in net offensive yardage.
“Doug was toting the ball and our offense played outstanding,” Winston said. “I’m the only one that messed up when I could’ve had two easy touchdowns and I overthrew them. In this league touchdowns really matter and you’ve got to take advantage of those opportunities.”
Winston spread his 14 completions around to six different options. Receiver Louis Murphy led the way with 82 yards on three receptions, followed by Jackson with 54 yards and the second-quarter touchdown on three catches.
“What we saw on film, we thought they were going to play a lot of man, a lot of single-high, try to pressure us a lot, but they came out two-high and played us two-man a lot,” Winston said. “So it was different. When I saw them doing different things I was like, ‘This is the NFL, you might watch this but they’re trying to trick you, trying to do something else.’ I adjusted quickly and we played great around me.”
Second-year receiver Mike Evans missed last week’s opener against Tennessee and played Sunday, but could not reel in any of his three targets.
There weren’t many bright spots in the loss to the Titans but there wasn’t much praise directed in the way of Bucs linebackers after a collective subpar performance. Sunday in New Orleans was different. Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander picked up a team-high eight tackles each and broke up three combined pass attempts while dropping back in coverage.
Safety Chris Conte also enjoyed his best day as a Buc after going up to grab the team’s first interception of the season and then pitching it back to Alterraun Verner for a 28-yard return. The pick and the heads-up lateral helped set up a 35-yard Brindza field goal that put Tampa Bay ahead 20-7 midway through the third quarter.
Putting a damper on Sunday’s win was seeing three-time All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy getting assistance on the sideline with an undisclosed injury to his right arm. Also exiting the game early was center Evan Smith. The sixth-year veteran left with an ankle injury in the second half and was replaced by newcomer Joe Hawley.
DID NOT PLAY
If the Winston vs. Mariota debate has anyone foggy on where my allegiances lie as a Bucs fan and if wasn’t clear from the tone of my comments I was pissed last week. Very pissed. Today I’m happy…very happy! I frickin’ hate the Saints and this is why we shouldn’t be afraid of D. Brees. Don’t let Goodell hear this but I’m so glad we hurt his shoulder, I just wish we knocked him out of the game. When QB’s turn the ball over the other team always has a chance to win and we almost always pick Brees off a bunch. How about J. Smith!! I just hope McCoy is okay, I saw them rubbing is bicep on the sideline…
Pinkstob, as much as I like you and I genuinely do, I can’t let you get off with a dog ate my homework response regarding Winston. I’m not going to troll, but after you read this you may want to give Winston some props!
Never challenged your allegiance PInk but your writes up last weeks were embarrassing 1 week into the season. You need to eat a bit of crow this week. You Deez and Bucnut 2 can all slow your roll a bit as Mariota got drilled this week and might break the rookie record for fumbles. Let’s worry about our own Qb from now on instead of shouting I told you so.
On a side note Buc Nut you were right about one thing, he did kill that press conference with a smile on his face.
I never said “I told you so”. Everyone is free to comment on what they see just like I am. That’s surprised me since this whole debate started, it’s like if you truly want the Bucs to win you have to support the guy we say to support or you’ll be mobbed. Well mob away I suppose. It’s a free country.
Mariota is playing well in two games thus far look at his completion percentage and td to int ratio. I sweara this room is the “I hate Mariota lets find faults room” Mariota is a good qb who could be great to say otherwise simply is being bias. I think the same of Winston.
no one questioned your loyalty. but as everyone said, you need to eat some crow here. you bashed and bashed winston. he completed over 65% of his passes. and made some huge plays. hes gonna turn the ball over, its going to happen. calling him jay cutler is rediculous, and i seriously hope you stop bc jay cutler, like i said is not even close to being the leader and resiliant player that winston is…
I said this before, my comparison of Winston to Jay Cutler is based on their on the field play. I don’t care about personality, only points. There is one thing I want to make clear though. I am allowed to speak my mind and call things as I see them. I understand that I have to face the music if things don’t turn out the way I say they will. I understand that. I also know that I enjoy the rush when things do turn out they way I said they would. That’s the fun of analysis and how you get better at it. I enjoy football for many reasons but that’s one of the reasons I enjoy it. Now I said I wouldn’t finalize my assessment of Winston or Mariota until the end of the 2017 season. However, I saw enough of them in college where I feel comfortable saying that Mariota will the better QB, regardless how good or bad they are overall. If Winston is good, Mariota will be great. If Winston is great, Mariota will be a Pro Bowler, etc. If you disagree, ignore my posts and/or write your own. If you and others see it differently, that’s okay. To me, that’s what these boards are for, how we feel about the Bucs.
Yes pink but in your haste to enjoy your “rush” you managed to spend a week chastising your own teams qb.
And no offense but anyone with eyes that could read between the lines could see that everything you wrote last week realms of “I told you so”.
That’s my point, I’m allowed to chastise Winston, before or after we draft him. Since he’s a Buc I don’t plan to do so unless he deserves it. He doesn’t deserve it now so I plan to give him props in the Winston report and other articles. I said after we drafted him I would judge him fairly just like I do every other player we draft and I still plan to. Let me make another example. I didn’t like L. Stocker when I saw him play at Tennessee. I didn’t like it when we drafted him and I said so on these boards the day we drafted him. I’ve said on these boards I don’t like him regularly since he’s been with the Bucs because I still don’t like the way he plays. Though I’ve been down on him from the beginning it never seemed to bother anybody. No one has gotten on me about chastising a Bucs TE. I never liked E.J. Biggers and said so often and no one got on me about chastising a Bucs CB. I don’t see the difference here. There’s lots of players I like because they play well or have shown the potential to play well in my opinion so I give them props.
HIPPOCRATES! Last week you told Pinkstob he was chest pumping that Mariota proved his point (ridiculous accusation)about QB debate and then proceeded to tell him it was only 1 game. 1 game later you are chest pumping and telling him to eat crow! Which is it man? Do any of you have intelligence above a Nat? Pinkstob is entitled to his opinions and your pathetic accusations last week about him and now “I told you so” attitude is beyond laughable. Most of you really are well… I’ll be nice. I probably disagree with Pinkstob on 30% of what he says but never do I question his motives. Most of you should eat crow but your too ….to realize it. EVERYONE on here wants the Bucs to win and EVERYONE is entitled to their opinions so quit acting like teenage girls and man up. Pinkstob, One poster realizes as do you, that these posters do not comprehend what you write. It is like they make things up as they go just because you have a different opinion. AS I said in a previous post to you, it is cool to be different and make your own path in life. Most these posters just follow the person in front of them. P.S. they wont understand the full meaning of my last statement either…lol.
Bout time they beat them dam ain’ts, now it’s on to Houston.
Pink your comments and opinions after one game were ridiculous. Who knows who will be better long term. Let’s just sit back and see what happens and be Bucs fans instead of stating Mariota will be better like its a cold fact.
So, this is how it’s probably going to go all season… Up, down, up, down… Hopefully, we can ease up on the “fire everyone” theme until we see where this team and Winston stands after a full season? Hopefully, today’s game marks a crossroads where the Bucs are trending slowly upward and the Aints slowly downward. Great win!
Very good game for Winston…67% with 2 drops. Two bad passes near NO goal line that coulda been TDs. But overall, a good day. Celebrating with a Malibu & Coke!
and you are entitled pinkstob. and imo, jay cutler is still a terrible comparison. i see more of a brett favre player than cutler. you cant lift a team as a recluse. winston lifts his teams up time and time again, and thats a characteristic of his you continue to disregard. and it does lead to points on the board, dont believe me, go talk to packer, 49er, steeler, and patriot fans. winston won in hs, he won in college, and he will win in the nfl. you say that it doesnt matter how they play right now, well it seemed to matter to you last week. sorry, but your saying things completely different than last week. no mention of mariotas 3 fumbles this week? two which were lost. no mention of him holding on to the ball for too long and looking lost at times? idc if you voice your opinion at all, but your song last week isnt the same as this weeks, last week it was mariota is that much better, we picked the wrong qb,blah blah blah, this week it doesnt matter how they play bc youll assess their play at the end of the year? hmmm…i have nothing against you at all, but im gonna challange you.
I am so happy we won! I had a lot of doubts about our defense; they showed up today and I hope it continues. The offense is getting better and will continue to get better. Special Teams were an A for sure. Now lets get the Texans next! Go Bucs!
Many of you bashed Conte continually before he ever played a snap. Well, I doubt they would have won without him today. He was solid.
76Buc, he started off in the first series slow and got better. The CB’s and Safeties weren’t flawless for sure, but stepped up when it matter.
Can we talk about the win rather than I told you so Pink stuff its exhausting, I’m just glad to watch the Bucs play the entire game and not be pissed off. Go Bucs
Dbuc, I’m sure pink is so glad you came to his defense. I”m sure you feel good trying to sound like the smartest guy in the room and looking more like a well… how do I put it nicely.
You only pop on to comment on others posts and shout bs like everyone is allowed to have their own opinion. Well guess what we are aloud to have our opinions as well?
If you look at any of my posts, as I’m sure I’m on of the people your aiming your ramble towards, I’ve said Winston will have up and down games all season.
We don’t comprehend what he writes? Awful nice of you to think we’re all that stupid. You just keep trying to be the smart guy in the room and the rest of will talk about football.
Oh and it’s spelled HYPOCRITES oh wise one.
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It’s also spelled gnat not “nat”. I have a lot of respect for Pinkstob and had the pleasure of watching a practice session with him this past training camp. He does fancy himself a bit of a player analyst who makes some good observations. I have no problem with his oft stated preference for Mariota. Both have their weaknesses and strengths. My issue was those who preferred Mariota taking the first and only opportunity they had to quickly jump to a conclusion that Mariota, after but one game, is superior to not only Winston but every other QB to play the game and to look down their nose at we who support “OUR” QB.
Scubog; right with you. Pinkstop is okay and makes good points. We all call it wrong at times. What I like the most about most of the Posters, we want the Bucs to win!.
In the immortal words of Rodney King, can’t we just aalll get along??
Thanks for the support Dbuc63. You and many of the other posters here make good posts yourselves!
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