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Jameis Winston makes NFL history in Bucs win in Detroit

Bucs 38, Lions 17: Winston becomes the first player in league history to post back-to-back 450-yard passing games.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Breshad Perriman (19), defended by Detroit Lions cornerback Rashaan Melvin (29), catches a 34-yard pass for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Breshad Perriman (19), defended by Detroit Lions cornerback Rashaan Melvin (29), catches a 34-yard pass for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski) [ RICK OSENTOSKI | AP ]
Published Dec. 15, 2019|Updated Dec. 15, 2019

(Final update)

Breshad Perriman caught his third touchdown pass of the game in the city and against the franchise for which his father, Brett Perriman, played. It also capped Perriman’s best day as a pro. He had five catches for 113 yards and touchdowns of 34, 25 and 25 yards.

And with his fourth touchdown pass of the game, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston became the first player in NFL history with back-to-back 450-yard passing games.

Back from the abyss

Rookie cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, the pride of Central Michigan, brought the Bucs back from the abyss.

With Tampa Bay on the verge of blowing a 24-3 second-half lead, Bunting, a Detroit native, intercepted a David Blough pass and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown and a 31-17 lead with 5:12 to play.

Murphy-Bunting’s team-high third interception came with Detroit driving for a tying score after Matt Gay missed a 54-yard field goal.

We interrupt this stampede into the Bucs record book

Lions stat of the day

Detroit first-half total yards: 56

Detroit third-quarter yards: 191.

Hamstrings R Us

(Update 2:15 third quarter)

An epidemic of hamstring injuries is running through the Bucs receiving corps.

Last week it was Mike Evans injuring his on a touchdown reception. In the first quarter today, Scott Miller left the game with a hamstring injury after his first career touchdown and LeBron James-style celebration. Then Chris Godwin went down in the third quarter and came up holding his left leg, right where you see people grabbing if they’ve injured their hamstring.

Godwin had to be carted off the field.

So much for that thumb injury

Jameis Winston’s broken, fractured, injured thumb hasn’t bothered him in the least today.

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Winston threw his third touchdown pass of the half, and second to Breshad Perriman, to give the Bucs a 21-0 midway through the second half at Ford Field. In doing so, Winston broke his own single-season franchise record with his 29th touchdown pass. Winston threw 28 TD passes in 2016.

(Matt Prater’s 44-yard field goal finally got the Lions on the board 3:17 before halftime.

Winston has 301 yards on 17-of-23 passing. And it’s time for another Jameis Winston-Peyton Manning comparison:

Bigger story today: Winston or the Bucs defense?

(Update 12:47 second quarter)

Tampa Bay has held Detroit to one first down (on a penalty), 2 total yards and 13 plays.

And this guy is having another successful Motown return.

A Detroit Lions fan wearing a Ndamukong Suh jersey is seen during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
A Detroit Lions fan wearing a Ndamukong Suh jersey is seen during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) [ PAUL SANCYA | AP ]

Mike Evans can rest easy

(Update 3:42 first quarter)

Jameis Winston and the Bucs receivers are picking up the slack for the sidelined Mike Evans.

With Evans out, possibly for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury, Winston has tossed on-stride touchdown passes of 33 yards to Scotty Miller and 34 to Breshad Perriman. Miller’s first NFL touchdown capped a 99-yard drive ignited by Chris Godwin’s 51-yard catch and run.

Wonder how many people in fantasy football playoffs today started Winston. He’s 9 of 11 for 196 yards, the touchdowns and (of course) an interception.

Meanwhile, Shaquill Barrett tied Warren Sapp’s Bucs record with his 16.5 sack on Detroit’s third possession.

Good thing they held onto Brett Perriman

It’s been less than a month since some of us were (cough, cough) were second-guessing the Bucs for not releasing Breshad Perriman. At the time, the Bucs could have cut the wide receiver and picked up an extra mid-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft.

Then Perriman started playing like the weapon some scouts thought he’d be when Baltimore drafted him in the first round out of UCF.

Perriman’s 34-yard touchdown reception on Tampa Bay’s second drive Sunday gave the Bucs’ a 7-0 lead and marked his second TD catch in as many weeks. It was Perriman’s second catch of the drive. He’s 22-yard catch and run pushed Tampa Bay into Detroit territory.

And so much for that broken thumb. Jameis Winston is 6 of 7 passing for 101 yards and a touchdown. The ball hasn’t hit the turf yet for Winston (see below).

Does anyone miss Donovan Smith yet?

His replacement at left tackle, Josh Wells, committed penalties on consecutive plays, wiping out a big catch and run by Scotty Miller on the second. And then it happened: Another first-possession interception by Jameis Winston.

ICYMI: Donovan Smith is out

The big news before kickoff was Donovan Smith. For the first time in his NFL career, the Bucs left tackle missed a game and won’t be protecting quarterback Jameis Winston’s blindside.

Here’s Eduardo A. Encina’s story.

Meanwhile, here’s what the crowd looked like before kickoff.

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

Time: 1 p.m. ET Sunday

Place: Ford Field, Detroit

TV: FOX (WTVT Tampa Bay)

Announcers: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth and Jennifer Hale

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 assignment: Referee Adrian Hill (10 years).

Odds: The Bucs are favored by 3.5 points (over/under 46 points), per Caesars.

Related: MORE BUCS: The latest on the Buccaneers


Trap game?

John Romano, columnist, @romano_tbtimes: Everything points to a Bucs victory. The Lions have lost 9-of-10, and have one of the worst past defenses in the NFL. They haven’t won a game since quarterback Matthew Stafford hurt his back a month ago. Meanwhile, the Bucs are looking like a team on a roll. It’s a no-brainer, right? Yes, except this has the feel of a trap game. Jameis Winston has a sore thumb and Mike Evans is out of the lineup. And the Lions aren’t quite as bad as they look. Before losing to the Vikings 20-7 last week, Detroit had been within 8 points of every team on the schedule. The Bucs will likely win, but don’t be surprised if this one goes haywire. Bucs 27-24.

This shouldn’t be close

Rick Stroud, Bucs beat writer, @NFLStroud: The Lions are starting rookie David Blough, an undrafted rookie from Purdue. In addition to Marvin Jones, they may be without a couple starting offensive linemen. This is a team the Bucs should beat, even without Evans. There’s every indication Winston will play with his broken thumb, and if he’s as effective as he was passing the ball in the second half last Sunday against the Colts, this won’t be that close. Barring turnovers, the Bucs win by a touchdown. Bucs 24-17.

A clean game

Eduardo A. Encina, Bucs/Pro sports enterprise writer, @EddieintheYard: Statistically, this game will feature two of the league’s three worst pass defenses in the game, but both units have shown improvement in recent weeks. Both teams will be without one of their top receiving weapons. The Bucs won’t have Mike Evans, and the Lions will be without No. 2 receiver Marvin Jones. The Bucs are looking for their fourth straight win, and the Lions have lost six straight, so these teams are going in very different directions. Give the edge to the Bucs. Expect Jameis Winston to have one of his cleanest games of the season. Bucs 28-24.

Road warriors

Thomas Bassinger, sports data reporter, @tometrics: Winston has a fractured thumb. Evans, his No. 1 target, is out. Donovan Smith, the man in charge of protecting his blind side, is banged up. It might seem as if the Bucs are doomed, but this is actually a favorable matchup. The Lions pass defense ranks 25th in Football Outsiders’ efficiency ratings and 29th in pressure rate (25.9 percent), according to Sports Info Solutions. And interceptions? Detroit has picked off only five passes, tied for fewest in the league, and hasn’t picked off more than one in any game this season. A win Sunday in the Motor City would be Tampa Bay’s fifth road win, a total it has reached just six other times in franchise history, last doing so in 2016. Bucs 24-20.

Evans would sure come in handy

Mike Sherman, deputy editor | sports, @mikesherman: Jason Pierre-Paul’s win-out prediction is halfway home. The Lions are in shambles. Another Belichick assistant is flailing as a head coach. The Bucs are in position for a fourth straight win for the first time since Dec. 4, 2016, when they won 28-21 at San Diego. The only things that could mess this up are injuries and turnovers. ... Uh-oh. Bucs 24-21.


Has Breshad Perriman’s time finally come? (Eduardo A. Encina)

Lions fans could see a different Ndamukong Suh (Rick Stroud)

Week 15 NFL picks (Mike Sherman)

Ryan Griffin is no longer the NFL’s Moonlight Graham (Rick Stroud)

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Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Previewing Bucs-Lions


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