‘Play fearless.’ That’s Bucs coach Bruce Arians’ message to Jameis Winston

And the quarterback pretty much embodied that sentiment in the win against the Rams on Sunday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston warms up before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Los Angeles.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston warms up before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Los Angeles. [ MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ | AP ]
Published Sept. 30, 2019

TAMPA — The Bucs posted 55 points in Sunday’s win over the Rams, setting a franchise record for points in a game. On Monday, coach Bruce Arians pointed to the play of quarterback Jameis Winston as a big reason for the offensive success.

“He is just growing in the offense,” Arians said. “I don’t know if anybody’s played better the last three weeks than he has.”

Winston finished 28 of 41 for 385 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. His 385 yards through the air was the fourth-highest mark in the league Sunday behind only Jared Goff (517), Aaron Rodgers (422) and Matt Ryan (397).

Over his past three games, Winston has completed 65 percent of his passes while racking up 973 yards and eight touchdowns. He has two turnovers in that span.

Winston’s lone interception against Los Angeles came in the fourth quarter. With the Bucs leading 45-34, Rams cornerback Marcus Peters came up with the pick-6, running it back 32 yards.

On the Bucs’ next drive, Winston went 3-for-3 for 37 yards, bringing his team to the Los Angeles 3-yard line to set up a chip-shot field goal. That’s a contrast from last week when after throwing an interception against the Giants, the Bucs called eight straight running plays to set up a field goal on the following drive. Arians said he has confidence in Winston, and the decision to take the ball out of his hands against New York was not a sign of distrust.

“You have to play fearless, and that’s one of my biggest messages to Jameis,” Arians said. “Throw it. Don’t worry about it, just throw it.”

What they’re saying

After the Bucs took down the defending NFC champion, players and analysts took to social media to share their thoughts on Tampa Bay’s performance.

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman complimented Winston’s play, comparing him to Ben Roethlisberger. Sherman and the 49ers defeated the Bucs in Week 1 at Raymond James Stadium. San Francisco held Tampa Bay to 17 points, limiting Winston to 194 yards passing with three interceptions.

On April 17, in an offseason segment on the Rams, former NFL safety and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark predicted Los Angeles would beat Tampa Bay in Week 4:

Fox Sports personality Colin Cowherd took a playful jab at the Bucs’ recent history while praising their current performance:

Medical matters

Arians said linebacker Devin White and cornerback Jamel Dean ran Monday, and he is hopeful that both rookies will be back in practice Wednesday. White, out with a knee injury, and Dean, recovering from an ankle injury, have not played since a Week 2 win at Carolina.

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Linebacker Jack Cichy sustained a right elbow injury Sunday. Arians expects him to miss two to four weeks, but a timetable for his return will depend on results from MRI results.

“Good news is my arm is back in its normal place and I’m smiling,” Cichy tweeted Monday morning.

Wide receiver Breshad Perriman, who left Sunday’s win with a hamstring injury, was evaluated further, but no timetable has been set for his return.


Cornerback Ryan Smith, who was suspended the first four games of the season for performance-enhancing drugs, is eligible to return. Tampa Bay will have to make a roster move later this week to activate Smith.