Written by Jenna Laine at ESPN.com
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winstonovercame a rocky first quarter, including an intercepted pass and two failed deep passes into the end zone — to throw four touchdowns in a 31-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Winston completed 23 of 33 passes for 281 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. In the first quarter, he had just 15 passing yards.
On the pick, Winston, who was backed up into his own end zone, appeared to have a miscommunication with wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who broke out on the route, with Desmond Trufant picking him off. He also couldn’t connect with Adam Humphries and Jackson on second-and-16 and third-and-16, respectively.
On the Bucs’ first scoring drive, with 10:31 to go in the second quarter, Winston rolled out on a bootleg to find Brandon Myers for a 4-yard touchdown. It was set up by a big 26-yard gain by Humphries on a screen pass, with three Falcons defenders diving at him and missing.
The real momentum boost for the Bucs came just before the end of the first half, when they turned to something they had been working on throughout the offseason and training camp, something they experienced much success with in the third preseason game against theCleveland Browns — no huddle.
“I think the real turning point was the drive before the half, the two-minute offense,” head coach Dirk Koetter said.
It was something Winston utilized the entire game against the Browns but couldn’t rely on until the end of the first half against the Falcons because of the noise and field position.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times,” Koetter said.
With 24 seconds to go in the first half, Winston checked down to running backCharles Sims, who spun and cartwheeled his way into the end zone for a 23-yard score. He made four defenders miss all at once and then two more.
“It’s something we work on every day,” tight end Cameron Brate of the no-huddle. “Jameis getting the ball into play-makers’ hands — you saw what [Charles] “Chuck” [Sims] can do when we get him the ball. That was incredible … I don’t know how he did it. There was no stopping him on that play … I thought he was gonna go down probably three different times.”
Then came the deep ball in the second half, with two beautiful throws downfield. The first was a 30-yard bomb that tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins snagged while diving into the back of the end zone.
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