For the first time since 1987, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick and selected former Florida State Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. The area is abuzz with excitement for the Bucs news quarterback, one the fans and the organization hope becomes a franchise quarterback, and can lead the Buccaneers back to the playoffs for the first time since Jon Gruden roamed the sidelines at Raymond James Stadium.
PewterReport.com has chronicled Winston’s practice reports throughout training camp and the preseason, and now breaks down his performances in the regular season games.
Winston’s First Drive – Bucs 0, Saints 0
Winston’s first pass was a gain of 36 yards to Vincent Jackson, but was negated by a holding penalty on Donovan Smith to set up first-and-20. After a Doug Martin run picked up three yards, Winston found tight end Cameron Brate for a gain of 11 yards. On third-and-6, Winston’s pass to Adam Humphries was incomplete and the Bucs had to punt. Winston was 1-of-2 for 11 yards
Winston’s Second Drive – Saints 7, Bucs 0
After two runs by Martin set up third-and-2, Winston threw a pass to Charles Sims, which turned out to be a lateral for a 4-yard loss. That forced the Bucs’ second punt of the game. Winston was 0-of-0
Winston’s Third Drive – Saints 7, Bucs 0
On second-and-8, Winston hit Austin Seferian-Jenkins with a gain of 13 out to the Tampa Bay 26. On first down, Winston’s pass for Seferian-Jenkins was high and overthrown. Winston was sacked on third-and-6 from the Tampa Bay 30 and the Bucs had to punt for a third time. Winston was 1-of-2 for 13 yards and was sacked once
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Winston’s Fourth Drive – Saints 14, Bucs 0
Winston found Jackson for a gain of five yards. On second down, Winston’s pass was tipped and the line and was incomplete. A personal foul on Saints cornerback Kyle Wilson gave the Bucs a first down after he hit Martin after the play. Wilson then hit Humphries high after an incomplete pass to give Tampa Bay another first down at the New Orleans 42. After a Winston run picked up no yards and his pass to Donteea Dye was incomplete, Winston scrambled for 18 yards on third-and-10 to pick up the first down at the New Orleans 24. After a 1-yard loss by Sims, Winston hit Sims for a 6-yard gain to set up third-and-5. Winston’s pass to Seferian-Jenkins in the end zone was incomplete, but a defensive holding call on Saints cornerback Brandon Browner gave Tampa Bay a first down at the New Orleans 14. On the next play, Martin ran right then cut back to the middle for a 14-yard touchdown. Winston was 2-of-5 for 11 yards and ran twice for 18 yards
Winston’s Fifth Drive – Saints 17, Bucs 7
Winston hit Sims with a gain of 14 yards out to the Tampa Bay 47. Winston ran for a gain of six yards and then a 5-yard penalty on Wilson for illegal contact gave the Bucs another first down and stopped the clock. Winston then hit Dye for a gain of 16 yards down to the New Orleans 26 and spiked the ball. After Winston hit Brate with a gain of five yards down to the 21-yard line and was pushed out of bounds, Connor Barth’s 39-yard field goal was good to cut New Orleans’ lead to 17-10. Winston was 3-of-3 for 35 yards and ran for a gain of 6 yards
Winston’s Sixth Drive – Saints 17, Bucs 10
After a 22-yard run by Martin, the Bucs had a first down at their own 38, but Winston’s pass to Seferian-Jenkins was overthrown and nearly intercepted. On third-and-5, Winston hit Sims with a screen pass for 10 yards and a first down. On second-and-10 from the New Orleans 47, Winston hit Seferian-Jenkins for a gain of nine yards. After a 1-yard run by Martin picked up a first down at the 37, Winston’s pass to Martin was incomplete. On third-and-6, Winston’s pass to Evans picked up four yards and Barth was brought out to attempt a 47-yard field goal, which he missed. Winston was 3-of-5 for 23 yards
Winston’s Seventh Drive – Saints 17, Bucs 10
After a 5-yard run by Martin out to the Tampa Bay 25, Winston’s pass to Seferian-Jenkins was incomplete. On third-and-5, his pass to Brate was broken up by safety Jarius Byrd and the Bucs were forced to punt. Winston was 0-of-2
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Winston’s Eighth Drive – Saints 24, Bucs 10
Winston’s screen pass to Sims on first down was incomplete. On second-down, Winston hit Sims for a gain of nine yards. On third-and-1, Winston scrambled around and then hit Evans for a gain of 13 yards. Winston hit Russell Shepard for a 6-yard gain, but Evans was flagged for offensive pass interference, so there was no play. On first-and-20 Sims rushed for six yards, but an unnecessary roughness penalty on Evans backed the Bucs up to a second-and-29. Winston hit Sims for a gain of 14 yards. On third-and-14, Winston hit Sims for 11 yards to set up fourth-and-4 from the Tampa Bay 48. On the next play, Winston hit Seferian-Jenkins with a gain of nine yards and also picked up 15 yards on a roughing the passer penalty. On first-and-10 from the 28, Winston hit Evans for 22 yards down to the New Orleans 6. Winston hit Humphries for a 6-yard touchdown to cut New Orleans’ lead to 24-17. Winston was 8-of-9 for 84 yards and a TD
Winston’s Ninth Drive – Saints 24, Bucs 17
After a 24-yard run on first down by Martin, Winston’s pass to Evans was high and incomplete. On second down, Winston overthrew a wide-open Sims downfield on a wheel route. On third down, Winston hit Dye in stride across the middle of the field, but the pass was dropped and the Bucs had to punt with just over four minutes left. Winston was 0-of-3
After Sunday’s loss, Winston discussed the offense’s problem sustaining drives and mentioned Smith’s 10-yard holding call that negated his 36-yard completion to Jackson.
“The first half [was] unfortunate,” Winston said. “First play, explosive, but we get called with a holding. So that definitely took our momentum, especially that first drive. But, you know, we have to bounce back. Quick turnaround, we got the Rams, and play better.”
Winston addressed the Bucs’ missed opportunities throughout the game, including Dye’s big drop on third down, which would have given Tampa Bay a first down in New Orleans territory with 4:28 remaining. The Bucs would punt on the next play and never get the ball back.
“No, one play doesn’t determine the outcome of the game,” Winston said. “I know I made a lot of plays, but there’s a lot of plays that I should have made out there that would have helped us win the game.”
One of those plays Winston almost made was on a deep pass to Sims on a wheel route on the play prior to Dye’s drop. The pass was overthrown, but Winston said that linebacker Dannelle Ellerbe should have been flagged for pass interference.
“No, actually 20 yards down the field, No. 59 hit Sims and it slowed him down,” Winston said. “So, yep, that throw would have been right on the money [otherwise]. But we didn’t get the call. Like I said, there’s a bunch of unfortunate things that happened out there, but we can’t hurt ourselves, that’s the main thing. We can’t hurt ourselves and we have to bounce back.”
One of the few bright spots for Winston was his 6-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Adam Humphries, who got his first NFL touchdown on the play. That play cut into New Orleans’ lead and made the score 24-17 and extended Winston’s streak of scoring at least one touchdown – passing or rushing – to 13 straight games.
Bucs WR Adam Humphries – Photo by: Getty Images
“Oh man, it was amazing,” Winston said. “The whole week it was just like, ‘We are going to get Adam a touchdown.’ We actually had a play dialed up for him that we didn’t get to run today that I was going to throw it to him no matter what. But I’m happy we got him in.”
After the game, Winston reflected on Saints quarterback Drew Brees completing 31-of-41 passes for 312 yards with two touchdowns and helping New Orleans convert 12-of-17 (71 percent) on third down. Winston and the Bucs converted just 4-of-11 (36 percent) on third down.
“He was amazing,” Winston said. “When you convert, I think it was four third-and-extra-longs – I mean when you are playing against the best, we knew it as an offense [that] we have to show up. Drew Brees just outplayed me. This was the game for me to have a breakout game and put up some points on the board and he played better.
“Them having a new defensive coordinator, it was hard for us to get the tendencies and basically know what they were doing on third downs. This had to be one of our worst third-down performances we’ve had in a long time. And that’s situational football. That’s how you win football games. You look at the way the game turned out, Drew Brees, they converted a lot of their third downs and we didn’t. That’s why I say for quarterback play, me as a quarterback lost the battle against Drew Brees, definitely, in the third down competition.”
PewterReport.com Analysis: Outside of throwing four interceptions, including a pick-six in a 37-23 loss to Carolina, Winston might have had to worst game of his rookie season in Sunday’s 24-17 loss to New Orleans. No, Winston didn’t throw any interceptions nor did he fumble the ball. He was just off with his passes, which mostly sailed high on him against New Orleans. Winston completed (56.3 percent), but just wasn’t the playmaker the Bucs needed him to be on Sunday outside of a few throws. Dirk Koetter’s play-calling was baffling at times and it mirrored the poor execution by his players, including Winston. The Bucs offense had three three-and-outs out of nine possessions, including one in the fourth quarter trailing 24-17. Two more possessions lasted just four and five plays before ending in punts, too. The offense had two decent drives and could muster just 17 points against the worst defense in the NFL. Tampa Bay’s offense was held to 291 total yards, which was the third-lowest output of the season.
Winston’s Final Stats: 18-of-32 for 182 yards with one touchdown, no interceptions, and 24 yards on three carries and was sacked once
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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