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Bucs win third straight behind another wild Jameis Winston performance

Live updates: Winston’s fourth-touchdown pass, three-interception game produces an NFL first in Bucs’ 38-35 win over Indianapolis.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, right, shakes hands with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) after his touchdown pass against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. [MARK LOMOGLIO  |  AP]
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, right, shakes hands with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) after his touchdown pass against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. [MARK LOMOGLIO | AP]
Published Dec. 8, 2019
Updated Dec. 8, 2019

Live update 3:51 fourth quarter

James Winston followed a critical fourth-and-1 conversion with an on-target 12-yard touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman for his fourth touchdown pass and the Bucs’ first lead since the first quarter.

Winston became the only quarterback in NFL history to throw four touchdown passes, three interceptions, rush for a touchdown and gain 400 yards passing in one game.

Does the defense get helmet stickers for this?

Update 8:13 fourth quarter

Jameis Winston’s third interception of the game allowed Indianapolis to start a drive in Bucs territory for the fourth time. The Bucs defense deserves some helmet stickers or something for this, but it held again. Tampa Bay emerged unscathed when Chase McLaughlin’s 47-yard field goal hit an upright bounced into the end zone.

Devin White big-play alert

Devin White big-play alert

White, the Bucs rookie linebacker thwarted an Indianapolis drive, forcing a Nyheim Hines’ fumble as the Colts running back was fighting for first-down yardage. Bucs safety Mike Edwards recovered the first fumble by a Colts running back all season at the Bucs 13.

Gay salvages a stalled drive

Update 13:00 fourth quarter

Matt Gay’s 44-yard field goal salvaged a scoring drive that stalled after three straight misfires. Winston missed Breshad Perriman, overthrowing a crossing route that would have been a touchdown. His tipped pass on second down carried high and through Justin Watson’s hands.

On third down in Indianapolis territory, Winston threw behind Watson and the pass slipped through Indianapolis defensive back Pierre Desir’s hands.

He’s back

Update, 3:18, third quarter

Jameis Winston shook off an injury to his throwing hand that caused him to miss the first series of the second half by lofting a touchdown pass to Justin Watson to pull the Bucs to within 35-28. It was Winston’s third touchdown pass and capped a five-play drive that breathed life into Tampa Bay.

The Bucs fell behind by two scores for the first time Sunday when Jacoby Brissett tossed a 12-yard touchdown pass and two-point conversion to Zach Paschal on Indianapolis’ second possession of the half.

Here’s Brissett’s second touchdown pass

The most Jameis Winston game ever?

Here’s the kind of day it’s been at Raymond James Stadium: Jameis Winston threw an interception on his first pass of the game and a touchdown on his last pass of the first half.

In between, he ran for a touchdown, hit Mike Evans in stride for a 61-yard TD strike on which Evans injured himself and threw his fifth pick-six interception of the season. Winston’s 277 yards passing are the most he’s had in the first half in his NFL career.

And we still have 30 minutes to play in this thing.

Here’s the last play from scrimmage in the first half

Like I said, wild.

Our Rick Stroud on Jameis’ pick-six

That’s right. Of Winston’s NFL-leading 22 interceptions this season in 12-plus games, five (or 22 percent) have been returned for touchdowns.

At least someone is enjoying this:

Giving Indy the short field

(Update, 7:42, second quarter)

The Colts have scored 17 of their points off so-called short fields, courtesy of Bucs turnovers (two) and a short-punt, good-return combination on their go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter.

Jacoby Brissett’s 9-yard run on fourth-and-1 set up former USF star Marlon Mack’s 1-yard touchdown run for a 17-14 lead.

Evans’ day ends early

Jameis Winston continued to rebound from a dreadful interception on the game’s first possession with a 61-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans late in the first quarter. Winston hit Evans, right on stride. But Evans was injured on the play and will not return.

Doing it with his legs

Jameis Winston isn’t fast and isn’t all that elusive. But his ability to buy time, keep his eyes downfield and create something out of nothing is again great consolation to the Bucs Sunday.

Winston’s scrambling pass to Breshad Perriman turned into a 31-yard gain and set up Winston’s 1-yard quarterback sneak to get the Bucs on the board late in the first quarter.

Two Tampa Bay turnovers, two Indianapolis scores

The Tampa Bay turnover festival continues with third-down back Dare Ogunbowale doing the honors while attempting to reach out for the marker on third down:

What would an NFL Sunday be without one?

Another opening series at home for the Bucs, another first-drive interception for Jameis Winston.

In fact, it’s the fourth time this season Winston was intercepted on the Bucs’ first possession (Carolina in London, Arizona, at Atlanta and again Sunday). It is the third time he has been intercepted on his first attempt of the game.

Indianapolis promptly pounced on the opportunity.

A little bad blood before the game

Bucs-Colts TV, streaming options, odds, etc.

Time: 1 p.m. ET Sunday

Place: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

TV: CBS (WTSP Channel 10 Tampa Bay)

Announcers: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta

Streaming: NFL app (locally or with a Verizon subscription); NFL Game Pass (audio only); NFL Sunday Ticket (with a Sunday Ticket subscription).

Radio: 97.9 FM in Tampa Bay (Bucs radio affiliates can be found here).

Officiating crew: Referee Adrian Hill (10 years); Umpire Roy Ellison (17 years); Line judge Mark Stewart (2 years); Side judge Jim Quirk (10 years); Back judge Greg Meyer (18 years); Field judge Land Clark (2 years); Down judge David Oliver (3 years).

Odds: The Bucs are favored by 2.5 points (over/under 48 points), per Caesars.

Related: MORE BUCS: The latest on the Buccaneers

Predictions

Bucs continue to stack them up

Eduardo A. Encina, Bucs beat/pro sports enterprise writer, @EddieintheYard: The Bucs are playing the Colts at the right time. Indianapolis comes to Tampa dealing with a lot of pressure. They are trailing the division-leading Texans by two games and one game out of the last AFC wild-card spot. They need to win, but they’ve lost four of their last five games and will be without their top rusher (USF product Marlon Mack), receiver (T.Y. Hilton) and tight end (Eric Ebron). Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett is under fire, mainly because he’s not Andrew Luck, which isn’t his fault. Brissett threw two costly interceptions in last week’s loss to the Titans, so the Bucs’ suddenly ball-hawking secondary could have some more opportunities for takeaways. Bucs 27-24

Who has the edge? Watch the sidelines

Thomas Bassinger, sports data reporter, @tometrics: For a late-season game in which the Bucs have all but been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, this is a surprisingly compelling game. Lots of intriguing storylines. There’s Bruce Arians against his former team, the team that gave him his first crack at being a head coach. There’s former USF standout running back Marlon Mack’s return to Tampa. There’s Vita Vea vs. Quenton Nelson. The Bucs and Colts are pretty evenly matched, with Tampa Bay boasting the slightly better pass offense and Indianapolis countering with the better pass defense (it held the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes in check earlier this season). The matchup I’ll be watching won’t necessarily take place on the field; it’ll take place on the sidelines. This one could very well come down to which coach better manages in-game situations such as fourth downs. Frank Reich has the edge there. Colts 26-23

Believe it or not, the Bucs defense could be the difference

John Romano, columnist, @romano_tbtimes: On the surface, this looks like two teams heading in opposite directions. After a 5-2 start, the Colts are 1-4. And after a 2-6 start, the Bucs are 3-1. What’s important to remember, however, is how much effect schedules have played in this narrative. Those three recent victories by the Bucs were all against teams with losing records. And three of those four Indianapolis losses were against teams with winning records. So what does it all mean for Sunday’s game? Presumably, a very competitive game. The Colts are one of the better running teams in the NFL, but Tampa Bay has only allowed one back to go over 100 yards this season. That means the Colts will need to rely on quarterback Jacoby Brissett more than usual. If the growth of Tampa Bay’s secondary is real, the Bucs should survive. Bucs 28-27.

Bucs will get their best shot

Rick Stroud, Bucs beat, @NFLStroud: The Colts are 6-6 and have lost four of their past five games, but this is a better football team than the Cardinals, Falcons and Jaguars. It’s also probably their last chance to remain in the AFC playoff picture. So the Bucs are going to get their best shot. Even so, it feels as if the Bucs finally have a little wind in their sails. They have won three of their last four games and two straight.The defense is playing better with the growth of the young players in the secondary and Devin White is healthy and making the kind of plays the Bucs expected. The Colts are a heavy run first team, which should play into the Bucs’ strength of stopping the run. As always, it will come down to whether Winston can protect the football. But it feels like the Bucs could win their third in a row with a chance to get to 7-7 next week at Detroit. Bucs 27-24.

Vita Vea vs. The Road Grader

Mike Sherman, deputy editor | sports, @mikesherman: It’s Vita Vea vs. Quenton Nelson in a game that could finalize the cost/benefit of Jameis Winston’s last-second touchdown pass to Chris Godwin in the 2017 season-finale. That 31-24 win over the Saints dropped the Bucs behind the Colts in the 2018 NFL draft order. Indianapolis, drafting sixth overall, picked Nelson, the road-grading guard from Notre Dame. The Bucs dealt the No. 7 pick to Buffalo, which took quarterback Josh Allen. The Bucs took nose tackle Vea at No. 12 and used the two second-round picks that came in the deal to cornerbacks M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis. The Vea-Nelson matchup could sway whether the Colts mount a running threat. Bucs 28-27.

Storylines

“There will always be a little blue horseshoe in my heart.” (Eduardo A. Encina)

Week 14 NFL picks (Mike Sherman)

Inside Cameron Brate’s unique jersey collection (Rick Stroud)

Is Shaq about to surpass Sapp? (Rick Stroud)

Arians: The Bucs are in the playoffs (Rick Stroud)

Bucs revisionist history (Mike Sherman)

Ryan Jensen honors long-lasting connection with a child (Eduardo. A. Encina)

The other Bucs’ My Cause My Cleats stories (Eduardo A. Encina)

Arians isn’t ready to decide on Winston (Rick Stroud)

Bucs uniform redesign update (Thomas Bassinger)

Is this the turnaround we’ve been waiting for? (Thomas Bassinger)

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Previewing Bucs-Colts

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