By Leo Haggerty
Archived under Featured Articles – Professional & Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers, after sporting the Colts 10-0 and 35-21 leads, roared back on the strength of the right arm of QB Jameis Winston for a come-from-behind 38-35 victory at Raymond James Stadium.  That win moved Tampa Bay to 6-7 in the National Football Conference South Division and sole position of second place behind the Saints.  The loss dropped Indianapolis to 6-7 as well and all alone in the third spot of the American Football Conference South Division two games behind the co-division leading Texans and Titans.

That right arm, which we found out after the tilt that the thumb had a hairline fracture for at least the entire second half, of the former Florida State alum had it’s good moments as well its bad ones.  And, like the little girl, when he was good, he was very good and when he was bad, he was awful.

First, the bad #3.  Winston threw three interceptions, two to Colts LB Darius Leonard with one of the Pick 6 variety, with two of the turnovers leading to 14 points.  A 47-yard field goal by Indy K Chase McLaughlin that hit the right upright kept the Horseshoes from posting points off of all three takeaways.

Honestly, almost every team would not have been able to dig themselves out of that hole but enter good #3.  All Winston did was go 33-of-45 for 456 yards and four TDs.  And, to put the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae, Jameis ran one in too.

A lot of credit needs to go to the Pewter Pirates defense.  After the Colts put up 27 points in the first half, the charges of DC Todd Bowles held Indy to a mere 8 markers in the second half.  That was huge.

One sad note from the tilt.  WR Mike Evans, who had one catch for a 61-yard touchdown, injured his hamstring on that TD grab.  #13, after an MRI earlier this week, will be lost for the rest of the season.

So, the Bucs are on a roll.  Three consecutive victories and another winnable game on the horizon this week in Detroit.

Can the Buccaneers travel to The Motor City and make it four straight wins against the Lions?  Catch my GOAL LINE STAND column and see what I think the Pewter Pirates need to do to get to 7-7 on the campaign.

Below are the post-game quotes I got from Bucs HC Bruce Arians.  What I like about the King of the Kangol is he’s a straight-shooter as you’ll see evidence of that below.  Enjoy.

LH : It looked like Darius Leonard was just reading Winston’s eyes on both interceptions.  Was that the case?

BA : That’s just zone defense. He went back into zone defense, and he is a tall guy. Jameis thought he could get it over on the first one. He’s thrown over a bunch of linebackers, but Darius is a long guy with really good hands. A lot of linebackers can’t make that play, but he did. The other one was a cover-zero blitz. Breshad broke hot, Jameis thought he was hot but he didn’t pick it up properly. So, he threw the hot just a little bit late and he picks it for six. Again, they go up 14 at that point and a lot of teams collapse. Our guys don’t collapse. Our offense goes right back down and gets points and gets us back in the game.

LH : How nice is it to know that, going into every game, you are going to be able to shut down the run?

BA : That’s what were built on. And, we didn’t run it bad today, we ran it really well at times. We got back two scores and they started playing a little bit more soft zone, so it was just easier to throw and catch. But, I thought RoJo played a heck of a ball game today and Dare obviously made another big catch. Peyton made a couple big runs, with that last one to seal it. We were built on stopping the run, running the ball, chunk plays and taking the ball away. We didn’t take it away enough today.

LH : Let me make sure I got this right.  Winston comes out after halftime and cannot hold the football.  He goes back and finds out he has a hairline fracture in the thumb of his throwing hand.  He goes back in the game and throws a dime to Perriman to win the game.  How much respect does that get from his teammates?

BA : Guys respect that. He doesn’t have to earn anybody’s respect in that locker room. They know he’s tough.

All picture courtesy of our photo-journalist Trace Crisp.