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The good, the bad, the win for Bucs’ Jameis Winston over the Colts

The Bucs QB threw for 456 yards and four TDs Sunday, the third-most yards in franchise history
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) run she ball for short gain while tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive end Justin Houston (99) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Sunday, December 8, 2019.  [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) run she ball for short gain while tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive end Justin Houston (99) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Sunday, December 8, 2019. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Dec. 8, 2019
Updated Dec. 8, 2019

TAMPA — What was it Bruce Arians said about Jameis Winston? He’s done some really, really good things and some really, really bad things?

That was on display in the Bucs’ 38-35 win over the Colts Sunday.

The game was a microcosm of Winston’s career.

He passed for a career-high 456 yards, threw four touchdowns to four different receivers and ran for a score. He also threw three crushing interceptions. He played through injury.

Winston’s first pass of the game was intercepted by Colts linebacker Darius Leonard.

His last pass was a game-winning 12-yard touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman with 3:51 to play.

Simply amazing.

It was the third straight win for the Bucs (6-7) and their fourth in five games.

It was the third time this season Winston’s first pass was intercepted and the fifth time the Bucs’ first drive of the game ended in an interception.

That led to a Colts touchdown. Then with the Bucs trailing 17-14 late in the first half, Leonard faked a blitz and dropped into coverage, intercepting a pass intended for Chris Godwin and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown to make it 24-14.

It’s the fifth time this season Winston’s interception has been returned for a touchdown.

Winston came right back, converting a big third down with a 10-yard pass to Justin Watson before finding Cameron Brate for a 3-yard TD pass. His 61-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans could not have been thrown any better.

Winston finished the first half 20-of-28 yards passing for 277 yards (the most in one half in his five-season NFL career) with two TDs and two interceptions. He also ran for a score.

Winston’s 23 interceptions lead the NFL and opponents have scored 96 points off Winston turnovers, the most in the league.

Winston missed the first series of the second half with an injury to his right hand. When Winston did get back in the game, he led the Bucs to a score. He fired 33 yards to O.J. Howard and then a 17-yard TD pass to Justin Watson.

Home-run balls

Say this for the Bucs defense. They give up some home-run balls.

The Colts came into Sunday’s game very limited at receiver with T.Y. Hilton missing his fifth straight game.

But on Sunday, it was bombs away for Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

He began with a 46-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Johnson. He connected with Johnson again for a 50-yard pass to set up a field goal on the final play of the first half.

Confusion seemed to be the order of the day for the Bucs’ secondary, which had played well the previous two games.

Then after the Bucs closed to 35-31 early in the fourth quarter, rookie Jamel Dean tackled Johnson on a pass that was overthrown, resulting in a 45-yard penalty. That penalty paid off when Colts kicker Chasse McLaughlin’s 47-yard field goal attempt hit an upright.

Evans injured

Evans has been a pretty durable player for the Bucs. But he hurt his right hamstring after catching a 61-yard touchdown pass from Winston in the first half.

Evans went to the ground and grabbed his hamstring immediately. He limped off the field.

No update was available immediately after the game, but he did not return.

With Evans gone, the Bucs utilized Chris Godwin more. But they also got some good performances from Brate and Howard as well Watson.

Griffin finally gets into an NFL game

Backup quarterback Ryan Griffin is in his seventh season, but until Sunday, he had never taken a snap in a game that counted.

When Winston couldn’t begin the second half, Griffin took over and went 2-of-4 passing for 18 yards, engineering only one first down. It didn’t have any real impact on the game, but at least he played.

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