Friday, July 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Raiders' Carr the better QB as Bucs fall in OT

TAMPA — This was the story of two franchise quarterbacks. Both with swords on their helmets and thunder in their arms. They battled a 15 mph breeze, with gusts even higher Sunday at Raymond James Stadium, for nearly five quarters.

But one stood head and shoulder pads above the other.

The Bucs' Jameis Winston completed only half of his 32 passes, most of them sailing like a kite on a blustery day. He got worse as the game got longer.

"I wasn't precise enough. You've got to give guys a chance," Winston said.

Just wind, baby.

The Raiders' Derek Carr completed 40 of 59 passes for 513 yards and four touchdowns, including a 41-yard strike on fourth down to Seth Roberts, who broke tackles for the winning score with 1:45 remaining in overtime for a 30-24 win over the Bucs.

"I thought he was outstanding," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said of Carr. "The ball on the money. That was a tough wind out there (Sunday). He spins it tight. He played lights-out."

The loss, played before an announced crowd of 61,068 mostly rooting for the home team, was the Bucs' 16th in their past 19 games at RJS. It also broke a two-game winning streak for Tampa Bay (3-4), which faces a quick turnaround by hosting a Thursday night game against the Falcons.

Carr was so good, he completed the most passes and threw for the most yards against the Bucs in franchise history. Raiders receiver Amari Cooper led the way with 12 catches for 173 yards and a touchdown. That's nearly as many yards receiving as Winston had passing (180).

For the Bucs, this game will be remembered for missed opportunities and Winston's inaccuracy.

The Raiders did their part to help. They had an NFL-record 23 penalties accepted for 200 yards. Then, after Carr threw a touchdown pass to tight end Mychal Rivera to tie the score at 24 with 1:38 remaining in regulation, Sebastian Janikowski missed a 50-yard field goal as time expired to send it into overtime. Janikowski misfired from 52 yards on the Raiders' first possession of the extra period.

But by then, Winston and the Bucs' passing game were awful.

Consider this: After the Bucs, who blew a 10-point lead, scored on Cameron Brate's 5-yard touchdown reception at the start of the fourth quarter to make it 17-16 (yes, Robert Aguayo missed another extra point), Winston went in the tank.

He connected on only 4 of 11 passes for 29 yards in the rest of regulation and overtime. Meanwhile, Carr shredded the Bucs defense from that point for 264 yards passing and two touchdowns. Heck, in the third quarter, Carr threw a touchdown pass to former Bucs tackle Donald Penn.

Here's what Carr was thinking on the winning touchdown to Roberts: "Throw an accurate ball. Stand in there and make an accurate throw. Give our guys a chance to make a play."

Too bad Winston wasn't capable of that Sunday.

The Bucs' last three possessions — one in regulation and two in overtime — were three and out.

The best chance was when the Bucs took over at their 42-yard line with about 11 minutes remaining in overtime.

On first down, Winston took a shot downfield to Mike Evans, and the ball predictably got caught in the wind and fell incomplete on a contested play.

"We had been kind of saving that double-move shot play to Mike," Koetter said. "Jameis had a shot at it. Jameis threw it up there. The wind got it a little bit. Again, I couldn't really see. It looked like a little traffic jam there."

Winston saw it another way. "The ball was in the air, and sometimes players put their hands on our guys before the ball is caught," he said. "So I thought that happened."

What happened Sunday was the Raiders' quarterback was better. Carr, who was drafted in the second round in 2014, has a year of experience on Winston and two dynamic receivers in Cooper and Michael Crabtree.

Winston will get better. But like so many of Winston's passes, the Bucs threw this game away.

     
             
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