Fans who bought tickets to the Bucs game against the Colts certainly got their money’s worth. In a highly entertaining, back-and-forth contest, Tampa Bay was able to seize momentum in the fourth quarter and held on for an exciting 38-35 win over Indianapolis.
Below is our weekly Most Impressive feature.
QB Jameis Winston
For part of the game, Jameis Winston was headed to the Most Disappointing list, throwing three interceptions, one that was returned for a touchdown by the Colts. But as we have seen with Winston often, the poor throws are quickly erased from his mind and the gunslinger mentality takes over.
Winston helped the Bucs overcome a 14-point second half deficit, and propelled the Bucs to a 38-35 win accounting for five touchdowns (four through the air, one rushing) and also throwing for 456 yards, third-most in team history. And Winston did a majority of his damage without his No. 1 wide receiver, Mike Evans, who went down in the first half with a hamstring injury.
Winston can be frustrating at times, but also do things like we saw on Sunday. The Jekyll and Hyde nature of Winston is who he is. Still the question remains: do the Bucs bring him back or let hit walk? But with three wins in his last four games, and fourth quarter heroics like the one against the Colts, the Bucs front office has to be leaning towards Winston remaining a Buccaneer, at least in 2020.
WR Chris Godwin
With Mike Evans exiting the game in the first quarter, Godwin had to pick up the slack for the rest of the Bucs offense, and that he did. Godwin showed why he’d be a No. 1 wide receiver on most other teams in the NFL with seven receptions for 91 yards. It wasn’t just that Godwin was the top target for Jameis Winston, it was the plays he made in situational football that was most impressive.
OLB Shaq Barrett
Barrett was partially responsible for the only sack recorded by the Bucs on Sunday when he recorded a half sack along with Will Gholston. But it was Barrett’s presence in stopping the run game that stood out. Barrett was second on the team with five tackles, and was a big key in slowing down Colts running back Marlon Mack. Barrett is at his best rushing the passer, but he also proved that he’s more than just that.
WR Justin Watson
For much of the 2019 season you wondered what Justin Watson did to get in the coaches dog house. Unable to get playing time over Bobo Wilson earlier in the year, and also over a sometimes struggling Breshad Perriman, many wondered if Watson would ever see the field. But with an early-game injury to Mike Evans, Watson was pressed into duty and came upon clutch for the Bucs offense.
The former Penn standout finished the game with five receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown, the first of his NFL career.
ILB Devin White
In his first game since being named Defensive Rookie Of The Month, White made a huge splash play with 10 minutes left in the game when he forced a fumble following a Winston interception. White was fairly quiet until that point and finished with just five tackles, but the clutch turnover was huge in the Bucs 38-35 win.
TE Cam Brate
Brate did what he does best in the Bucs offense over the years, which is be a security blanket for Jameis Winston, particularly in the red zone. Half of Brate’s receptions came in that part of the field, including a seven-yard touchdown catch at the end of the second quarter. Brate finished with four receptions for 40 yards and one score.
WR Breshad Perriman
When Mike Evans went down, the Bucs needed someone other than Chris Godwin to step up in his absence. Both Perriman and Watson showed they may not be dynamic NFL receivers, but they could fill in and produce. Perriman finished the game with just three receptions but they went for 70 yards and including the game winning catch in there fourth quarter.
LT Donovan Smith
Much maligned and beaten up regularly by the fans and some in the media, Donovan Smith wins the warrior award for his performance on Sunday. A second quarter knee injury left Smith hobbling for much of the game, but after seeing Winston get hit on three of the four plays he missed, including a sack, Smith returned to the field and despite not being 100 percent, played the remainder of the game and did a solid job of protecting Winston’s blind side.
– Mark Cook and Matt Matera combined on this report