Winston throws four touchdowns, leads Tampa Bay to thrilling win over Colts
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ season has been an up and down roller coaster much alike it’s signal caller Jameis Winston. One week Tampa Bay has looked like a club that could be on the cusp of turning the corner and the next, on the verge of being a cellar dwelling team.
Sunday afternoon, however, the Buccaneers looked a little more like the club that some thought before they might be. One with some inconsistencies at the quarterback position with Winston, spotty defense and timely playmaking. That’s what eventually got the Buccaneers’ their sixth win of the year, as Winston threw for 456 yards, four touchdowns and rushed for another and led Tampa Bay to a thrilling 38-35 victory at Raymond James Stadium.
Despite the win over the Colts, the Buccaneers were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention with the Minnesota Vikings’ 20-7 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Now with the Vikings all but in the playoffs, Tampa Bay will play for pride in its final three games against the Lions, Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons.
Coming off the Buccaneers’ 28-11 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, Tampa Bay was hoping for another strong defensive performance against another AFC South opponent in the Colts. The game didn’t start off well for Winston and crew, as the fifth-year starter was picked off on the opening drive for the third time this season. Indianapolis (6-7) took advantage of the Tampa Bay miscue and turned it immediately into points, as Jacoby Brissett hit Marcus Johnson on a 46-yard touchdown pass.
Tampa Bay (6-7) wasn’t done with the turnovers in the opening quarter, with running back Dare Ogunbowale fumbled which led to a field goal by Chase McLaughlin to put the Colts up 10-0 quickly. The Buccaneers wouldn’t go down quietly, as Winston engineered a scoring drive and snuck it in from a yard out. On the next Tampa Bay possession, Winston hit Mike Evans on a 61-yard touchdown pass to put Tampa Bay up 14-10. Evans injured his hamstring on the play and wouldn’t return to the game.
Winston throws were all over the field and one went right to Colts’ linebacker Darius Leonard, who returned it for a touchdown. Though Winston ended the day with three interceptions, he finished with 456 yards on 33-of-45 passing and four touchdown passes and one rushing (five total touchdowns). Winston hurt his right hand during the first half and didn’t begin the second half at quarterback, with Ryan Griffin getting the snaps.
The Buccaneers had to play from behind down 35-21 during the third quarter and Winston would return and lead the comeback. The good Winston throws ignited the comeback, as he hit on a 17-yard touchdown to Justin Watson. Tampa Bay’s defense would begin to make some stands and combined with a Matt Gay field goal, brought the Buccaneers within 35-31 heading into the fourth quarter. Winston notched his third interception in the fourth quarter, but bounced back from the turnover with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Breshard Perriman with 3:51 left.
Up 38-35, Tampa Bay’s defense answered the bell against Indianapolis’ offense and held on a 4th and 2 play in which Brissett threw an illegal forward pass. A first down run by running back Peyton Barber sealed the win for Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers will head to Ford Field next Sunday as they look to even themselves up at 7-7 against the 3-9-1 Lions.
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