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.
Each week PewterReport.com will chronicle Winston’s performances throughout his rookie season.
Winston’s First Drive – Panthers 0, Bucs 0
On the second snap of the game, Winston and center Joe Hawley had a fumbled center-quarterback exchange. Winston didn’t throw a pass or run the ball
Winston’s Second Drive – Panthers 3, Bucs 0
Winston’s first pass, which was intended for tight end Brandon Myers, was intercepted by cornerback Josh Norman and returned 46 yards for a touchdown to give Carolina a 10-0 lead with 10:41 in the first quarter. Winston was 0-for-1 with a pick-6
Winston’s Third Drive – Panthers 10, Bucs 0
Winston’s initial pass on the drive was a 23-yard strike across the middle to Vincent Jackson on a drive that helped the Bucs produce a field goal. Winston’s pass to Mike Evans on third down was broken up by Norman. Winston was 1-of-2 for 23 yards
Winston’s Fourth Drive – Panthers 10, Bucs 3
Winston’s screen pass attempt to Sims was incomplete on second down. On third-and-4, Winston scrambled for seven yards to pick up a first down. Winston was flagged for intentional grounding, which cost the Bucs 13 yards. On third-and-16, Winston’s screen pass to Sims picked up seven yards, but Tampa Bay had to punt. Winston was 1-of-3 for 7 yards with a run for 7 yards
Winston’s Fifth Drive – Panthers 10, Bucs 3
Winston’s pass was intended for Evans but deflected at the line and intercepted by safety Kurt Coleman. Winston was 0-of-1 with an interception
Winston’s Sixth Drive – Panthers 17, Bucs 3
Winston’s pass to Jackson on third-and-5 gained eight yards and picked up a first down. Winston’s next pass to Louis Murphy gained nine yards. His next throw was to Doug Martin and picked up 10. He followed that up with a 20-yard strike to Jackson. Winston continued his rhythm with a 6-yard dart to Murphy down to the Carolina 19. Winston’s strike to Jackson picked up 11 on third-and-1 down to the Carolina 5 to set up Doug Martin’s 5-yard touchdown run. Winston was 6-of-6 for 64 yards
Bucs WR Vincent Jackson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Winston’s Seventh Drive – Panthers 17, Bucs 10
Winston’s pass to Sims picked up 13 yards and a first down out to the Carolina 42. His next throw was to Myers and picked up eight yards to the Panthers’ 29-yard. His pass to Jackson on the next play was out of bounds, and his next pass to Jackson was dropped. Winston looked for Jackson again on a scramble, but the pass was dropped again. His final pass of the drive was a 6-yard gain to Myers, who stepped out of bounds to set up a field goal attempt that was missed by Kyle Brindza. Winston was 3-of-6 for 27 yards
Winston’s Eighth Drive – Panthers 17, Bucs 10
Winston threw a 6-yard pass down to the Carolina 17, but was sacked on the next play and the 43-yard field goal attempt by Brindza was wide left. Winston was 3-of-6 for 27 yards and was sacked once
Winston’s Ninth Drive – Panthers 24, Bucs 10
Winston’s pass to Evans was good for 21 yards, but his pass to Myers three plays was punched out. On the next play, Winston threw late on third-and-8 to Jackson and his pass was picked off by Norman. Winston was 1-of-3 for 21 yards with an interception
Winston’s Tenth Drive – Panthers 31, Bucs 10
Winston scrambled for a 3-yard gain on down to the Carolina 41. After getting sacked, Winston threw a 20-yard pass to Jackson on third-and-21 down to the Carolina 35. After runs of 24 yards and one yard by Martin to the Carolina 10, Winston hit Sims with a 10-yard touchdown to pull the score to 31-17. Winston was 2-of-2 for 30 yards and a touchdown, plus a run of 3 yards
Winston’s Eleventh Drive – Panthers 31, Bucs 17
Winston’s first pass to Sims on the drive was incomplete as he was under pressure. His second pass to Murphy was incomplete as there was some miscommunication. Winston was 1-of-3 for 5 yards
Winston’s Twelfth Drive – Panthers 34, Bucs 17
Winston’s first pass to Evans was incomplete before hitting Martin for a gain of one yard. Winston then hit Murphy for 11 yards on third-and-9 from the Tampa Bay. Winston’s next pass to Jackson was incomplete before he threw his fourth interception of the game – this time to linebacker Thomas Davis on a pass intended for Evans. Winston was 1-of-3 for 11 yards and an interception
Winston’s Thirteenth Drive – Panthers 37, Bucs 17
Winston was flagged for intentional grounding to avoid getting sacked by Delaire. Winston then Martin for a gain of five yards before finding Martin for 15 more yards. On fourth-and-2, Winston scrambled for a gain of two to pick up a first down on Tampa Bay’s final drive. Winston then hit Jackson for four straight gains of 10, 19, 22 and four yards down to the Carolina 19 before an incomplete pass to Louis Murphy. After an incompletion to Evans, Winston hit Jackson for a 6-yard touchdown on third-and-2 at the Carolina 6-yard line. Winston was 7-for-9 for 62 yards and a touchdown, plus a scramble for 2 yards
Winston struggled mightily with a career-high four interceptions against Carolina, including two to cornerback Josh Norman, who returned Winston’s pass 46 yards for a touchdown on the first throw of the game.
“You can’t win football games with five turnovers,” Winston said. “It’s not time to fall, it’s time to rise. It’s time to get better.”
Winston also fumbled the center-quarterback exchange on second snap of the game during one of the several showers that blanketed Raymond James Stadium during the game.
“That’s my job to tell the ref to replace the wet ball,” Winston said. “That’s on me. I can throw the wet ball well. I just have to make good decisions.”
Winston admitted that Sunday’s loss, which was largely due to his turnovers, was tough to swallow.
“It’s hard, but it’s my job,” Winston said. “I’ve got to be that person that stays up. Stay positive. Can’t think negative. Snap and clear.
“I just have to take care of the ball. I just have to take care of it.”
Winston said that he is surprised that he has started off his NFL career with six touchdown passes and seven interceptions, including two pick-sixes.
“It’s surprising to myself as a player and who I believe I am,” Winston said. “The one thing you have to do is take the heat and keep going – moving forward.
“Confidence will never be an issue. That was a wake-up call to my work ethic. I have to work harder.”
PewterReport.com Analysis: As strange as it sounds, if you take away Winston’s turnovers he actually had a solid game. Winston completed 60.5 percent of his passes for nearly 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But you can’t take away those turnovers, and they contributed mightily to Carolina’s 37-23 victory. One of Winston’s interceptions came off a tipped pass, but the other three were simply bad passes and poor decisions. Norman should write Winston a thank you card for punching his ticket to the Pro Bowl after Sunday. Jackson was the leading receiver today with 10 catches for 147 yards and a touchdown, but even he had a couple of dropped passes. Evans struggled with just three catches for 32 yards. In his post-game press conference, Winston was visibly stung by his four-interception day, but showed plenty of resolve, too. He’ll need that next week against Jacksonville in a must-win game for the Buccaneers and head coach Lovie Smith.
Winston’s Final Stats: 26-of-43 (60.5 percent) for 287 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions and two sacks.
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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