TAMPA — Thrust into Tampa Bay’s No. 1 receiver role following injuries to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, Breshad Perriman closed with three straight 100-yard receiving games.
Perriman led the Bucs with a career-high 134 yards on five catches in their 28-22 overtime loss to Atlanta Sunday. His late first-half catch in the back of the end zone gave the Bucs a 22-16 lead.
Perriman had 17 catches for 349 yards and four touchdowns over the final three games and 506 yards receiving the last five, including 13 catches of 20 yards or more.
“He showed that he’s a (number) one. He came in that last three weeks as our one and played like it,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said. “That touchdown at the end of the half was huge.”
On that play, Winston threw a ball toward the back of the end zone that Perriman made a leaping grab and then tapped both toes inside the end line for the catch.
“You don’t really practice that,” Perriman said. “(Winston) just gave me a chance to go out there and make a play on it. Honestly I was just thinking, attack the ball at the highest point. That was my whole mindset. I wouldn’t be able to keep my feet in if I didn’t catch it.”
Perriman’s finish — he ended the season with career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns — should get him a lot of attention in free agency. He said he wants to return to the Bucs.
“I had so much fun here,” Perriman said. “I’m definitely trying to come back here. We’ll see what happens. I’m trying to come back to the Bucs.”
Devin White makes history
Devin White was tripped on his way to the end zone after scooping up a fumble in last week’s home loss to the Texans. He got another opportunity Sunday to run back a loose ball.
The Bucs’ rookie returned Jason Pierre-Paul’s strip-sack of Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan 91 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. White also returned a fumble for a touchdown in the Bucs’ win in Jacksonville on Dec. 1.
“I was mad at myself because I felt like I was the reason we lost the last game against the Houston Texans because I could have ensured seven points for my team and I didn’t do that,” White said of the Bucs’ 23-20 loss Dec. 21. “So this time when I picked the ball up, I just said, I’ve gotta get seven, I’ve gotta get seven. That was just the whole mindset.”
White became the first defensive rookie to return two fumbles for touchdowns since New York Yanks defensive end Art Tait did it 1951.
On White’s touchdown, Pierre-Paul stripped Ryan of the ball before he could make a passing motion and it one-hopped to White, who ran untouched into the end zone.
Said White: "No one was going to stop me.”
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieintheYard