1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Bucs

Reviewing Jameis Winston’s historic (and hysterics-inducing) performance

John Romano’s Gimme 5 | Winston’s boom-or-bust season, Ryan Griffin’s passing debut and a special thank you to Hall of Famer John Elway.
The sight of Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston throwing a pass has been equal parts disaster and joy for opponents and Tampa Bay fans. Winston is second in the NFL in passing yards (with a team record 4,115) and is first in interceptions (with a career high 23). [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
The sight of Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston throwing a pass has been equal parts disaster and joy for opponents and Tampa Bay fans. Winston is second in the NFL in passing yards (with a team record 4,115) and is first in interceptions (with a career high 23). [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Dec. 9, 2019
Updated Dec. 9, 2019

Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio

1. C’mon admit it. You’re enjoying this: They won’t be going to the playoffs. And they may not have a winning record. But you must admit this Bucs team is one of the most entertaining in Tampa Bay history. Heck, in NFL history for that matter. The Bucs are averaging 29.1 points per game. They’re giving up 29.3 points per game. In league history, only three teams (the 2000 Rams and the 2012 and ’16 Saints) have topped 29 points a game on both offense and defense. Add in all the turnovers and sacks, and every game feels like a three-hour highlight reel.

2. An Evans-less world: The final three quarters on Sunday might have been a preview for life without Mike Evans. While Justin Watson and Breshad Perriman became a larger part of the offense, Jameis Winston threw more to running backs and tight ends than usual. Coming into the game, Winston had thrown to receivers 64.7 percent of the time. On Sunday, that dropped to 53.3. It was only the third game of 2019 that receivers were targeted at less than 55 percent. The other two were losses to New Orleans and San Francisco.

3. A gift that keeps on giving: Shaquil Barrett has 15 sacks. Remember to thank Denver general manager John Elway this holiday season.

4. A little love for the D: This is starting to become a weekly reminder, but Tampa Bay’s defense is playing better than scores would indicate. Through the season’s first nine games, the Bucs gave up 376.6 yards per game. In the last four weeks, that average has dropped to 304 yards. Too many turnovers by the offense is skewing the scoreboard.

5. No cause for alarm: The Bucs and Cowboys have the same record. Yet the Bucs are already eliminated from the playoffs while the Cowboys may win a division. Doesn’t seem fair, right? Well, don’t be too cranky. While the NFC East is clearly the NFL’s worst division (10-28 vs non-division opponents) the NFC South has the second-worst record (15-17) in non-division games.

A list of five

Five mistakes made by the Colts

5. Linebackers and defensive backs fighting over whose turn it was for the next interception.

4. Defense built game plan around stopping fullback Vita Vea.

3. Confused the Bucs with the Jaguars.

2. Distracted by Bruce Arians’ still-youthful glow.

1. Trusted Andrew $%#!*@ Luck.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Winston

1. Dr. Jekyll: In case you missed it, Winston set the Tampa Bay single-season passing record on Sunday. He’s got 4,115 yards, breaking his own record of 4,090 in 2016, and he still has three games to go.

2. Mr. Winston: He threw three interceptions or more for the 10th time in his career. No one else in the NFL has more than seven of those games during the same time period.

3. Dr. Jekyll: At his current pace, Winston will finish with 5,065 passing yards. Do you know how rare that is? Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Patrick Mahomes and Dan Marino are the only quarterbacks to have thrown for more.

4. Mr. Winston: The worst part of all these turnovers is how many are unforced. He’s thrown seven interceptions in the first quarter of games. Eleven have been in the first half. That’s not indicative of quarterback trying to rally his team. That’s a quarterback putting his team in a hole.

5. Dr. Jekyll: In his defense, this is not a dink-and-dunk passing attack. Winston is throwing downfield more than most. His average completion rate of 13.1 yards is tops in the NFL among quarterbacks with 10 starts or more.

Should have drafted Griffin

Lost in all the other storylines Sunday was Ryan Griffin throwing his first NFL passes in a regular-season game after seven years as a backup. At age 30, he is one of the few quarterbacks remaining from the 2013 rookie class, which may be the worst in history. Eleven quarterbacks were drafted ahead of Griffin, who signed with New Orleans as a free agent out of Tulane.

1. EJ Manuel: Chosen No. 16 overall out of FSU, Manuel spent four years in Buffalo with a 6-12 record. His final season was as a backup in Oakland in 2017.

2. Geno Smith: A second-round pick of the Jets, he went 12-18 as a starter in New York. Now backs up Russell Wilson in Seattle.

3. Mike Glennon: Believe it or not, the Bucs third-round pick is probably the most accomplished quarterback of the class. After giving way to Winston in Tampa Bay, he signed a fat contract with the Bears but lasted only one season. Now a backup in Oakland.

4. Matt Barkley: A fourth-round pick of the Eagles, he’s worn six different uniforms. Now a backup in Buffalo.

5. Ryan Griffin: Yup, along with Smith, Glennon and Barkley, he is the last of the 2013 QBs still playing in the NFL.

Final five words

Are nine wins a possibility?

John Romano can be reached at Follow @romano_tbtimes.


  1. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes holds the Lamar Hunt Trophy as he celebrates winning a NFL, AFC Championship football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Kansas City, MO. The Chiefs won 35-24 to advance to Super Bowl 54. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley) [COLIN E. BRALEY  |  AP]
    Rick Stroud | From Patrick Mahomes’ no-look passes to a possibly incredible double honor for John Lynch, they won’t disappoint.
  2. Colin Kaepernick, middle, kneels for the national anthem. He hasn't taken a snap in the NFL for three full seasons now.
    "Inspire Change'' campaign is a sanitized version of what Colin Kaepernick tried to get across by kneeling for the national anthem.
  3. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) runs on the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. [ADAM HUNGER  |  AP]
    Manning: “From the very first moment I did it my way.”
  4. NFC cornerback Shaquill Griffin of the Seattle Seahawks gives a thumbs up during Pro Bowl NFL football practice, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano) [STEVE LUCIANO  |  AP]
    Third-year Seahawks cornerback is being rewarded for his standout season, and is excited to share it with his family. “We all made the Pro Bowl.”
  5. In this Oct. 23, 2016, file photo, a New Orleans Saints helmet rests on the playing field before an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo. The Saints are going to court to keep the public from seeing hundreds of emails that allegedly show team executives doing public relations damage control for the area's Roman Catholic archdiocese to help it contain the fallout from a burgeoning sexual abuse crisis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File) [JEFF ROBERSON  |  AP]
    Saints attorneys disputed any suggestion that the team helped the church cover up crimes, calling such claims “outrageous.”
  6. NFC quarterback Drew Brees, of the New Orleans Saints, throws a pass during a practice for the NFL Pro Bowl football game Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) [CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP]
    The Bucs could be impacted as they decide on Jameis Winston, with Brees’ New Orleans backup Teddy Bridgewater as a possible option.
  7. Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (94) celebrates a sack of Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) during the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. [REED HOFFMANN  |  AP]
    John Romano | The Bucs played well enough on both sides of the ball to be one of the top 10 teams in the NFL. One stat kept them from possibly being the Chiefs or 49ers.
  8. Former Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm could be an interesting option for the Bucs to consider, if they want to move on from Jameis Winston. [BILL FEIG  |  AP]
    As the Bucs possibly look into moving on from Jameis Winston, here’s what fans should know about this draft’s quarterback class.
  9. In this Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, file photo, then-Patriots receiver Antonio Brown roams the sideline during the first half against the Dolphins in Miami Gardens. Law enforcement authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Brown, who along with his trainer has been accused of attacking a man near Brown's South Florida home in Hollywood. [LYNNE SLADKY  |  AP]
    The troubled NFL wide receiver is accused, along with his trainer, of attacking a man in South Florida.
  10. NFC linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hands Sean Silverthorn, of Largo, Fla., two tickets to the Super Bowl after a practice for the NFL Pro Bowl football game Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. [CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP]
    At this time last year, he was a player without a team. Now, having earned his place among the game’s greats, the Buccaneers outside linebacker is making dreams come true for him, his family and a...