Winston named NFC offensive player of the week

Former Florida State star quarterback Jameis Winston has received a lot of criticism during his young NFL career for turnover issues, losses, off-the-field issues, and much more. Finally aided by the efforts of a good defense and a competent coaching staff, Winston is starting to take the next step in Tampa Bay in his contract year. For the second time in his five-year career, Winston has been named NFC offensive player of the week following Tampa Bay’s surprising 55-40 upset over the Los Angeles Rams on the west coast.

It was a game not many people expected the Buccaneers to even be competitive in, a matchup against the defending Super Bowl runner-up Rams on the road is no easy task, especially after Bruce Arians’ club started the season 1-2. However, instead of faltering in the face of a ferocious defense, Winston took them to the woodshed. He finished the game by completing 28 of his 41 passes for 385 yards with four touchdowns to one interception.

The talented signal-caller was at his best when the game was hanging in the balance. Winston tossed his third touchdown of the game to Cameron Brate early in the fourth quarter to make the score 38-20. The Rams quickly answered with a score of their own and it was prove it time for the Bucs. On the second play of the ensuing drive, Winston found a streaking Mike Evans for an easy 67-yard touchdown to make it 45-27. Again, Los Angeles responded with a TD and then a pick-six. Suddenly, the score was 45-40 and the situation was eerily familiar to Tampa Bay’s week-three comeback loss to the New York Giants. On his final offensive possession of the game, Winston completed all three of his passes while leading the Bucs on an 11 play, 72-yard drive that lasted over five and a half minutes and netted a field goal. The masterful drive left LA with just 2:35 to tie it up.

The revamped defense led by Todd Bowles put the ribbon on the game with an Ndamukong Suh fumble return for a touchdown. After entering Los Angeles as a nine-point underdog, Tampa Bay headed home with a 55-40 win, the most points ever scored by the franchise in a game. The Buccaneers don’t have time to relish in their impressive victory. The next two weeks are crucial for this team’s playoff chances. Tampa Bay travels to New Orleans for a clash with the Saints this upcoming Sunday before matching up with Carolina for the second time this season the following Sunday in London. These are two big-time divisional games that Arians has to have his squad prepared for.

While this team has been using a balanced attack offensively thus far, Winston is going to need to keep performing at a high level with the offense averaging just 3.8 yards per rush. Through four games, he’s tossed nine touchdowns to just five interceptions while completing 62.6% of his passes for 1,167 yards. Statistically, he’s on pace for a career year in 2019. He’s one of just seven quarterbacks to have thrown at least nine TD’s and is fifth in the NFL in passing yards.

Winston is looking to lead Tampa Bay back to the playoffs for the first time in his career and the first time for the franchise in 12 years. He’s off to a heck of a start but will need to elevate his game even further moving forward. If he keeps it up, the Hueytown native is going to be a VERY rich man in a couple of months.

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