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Bucs-Panthers journal: Winston, Evans set team records

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) scrambles during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) scrambles during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
Published Jan. 2, 2017

TAMPA — Bucs coach Dirk Koetter called it an "extremely frustrating day on offense," but with the game against the Panthers on the line, Jameis Winston fired a 10-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans with 3:13 left in Sunday's 17-16 win, a record-breaking throw on both ends on Tampa Bay's final pass of the season.

For Winston, the throw was his 28th touchdown pass of the season, breaking Josh Freeman's team record set in 2012. Earlier in the game, Winston became the first quarterback to throw for at least 4,000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons.

And on that final drive, Winston broke Freeman's team record with 4,090 passing yards on the season.

"My individual statistics don't mean a lot," Winston said. "Maybe when I get older … maybe I'll look back and laugh about it with my grandkids."

Evans matched his team record with his 12th touchdown catch of the season. The first-time Pro Bowl selection finished the season with 96 catches — second in a season in Bucs history — for 1,321 yards, both career highs.

TWO MORE: S Keith Tandy, who had game-clinching interceptions in Bucs' wins against the Chargers and Saints, came down with two interceptions on deep balls by the Panthers' Cam Newton.

"Keith Tandy has just been red hot at safety," Koetter said.

Tandy's four interceptions for the season — all in the final five weeks — tied him with CB Brent Grimes for the team lead. Grimes intercepted a Newton pass on the second play of the second half, returning it 31 yards for a touchdown and his third career pick-six.

"I think everyone saw why we brought Brent Grimes in here. Brent Grimes is such a ball-hawking corner," Koetter said. "That was the big play of the day."

Grimes entered the day tied for the NFL lead with 20 passes defensed, and he added four to break up Newton passes.

LESS IS MORE: It was the Bucs' fifth win this season when scoring 19 points or fewer. That was the most in the NFL and the most for any Bucs team in any season since 1999, when Tampa Bay had six such wins.

The Bucs had a better record (5-2) when scoring 19 or fewer points than they did (4-5) when scoring 20 or more.

ALMOST KICK-SIX: When the Panthers lined up for a 58-yard field goal at the end of the first half, the Bucs lined up WR Adam Humphries at the back of the end zone. He fielded the kick — a live ball — and returned it 76 yards to the Carolina 33-yard line before he was tackled to end the half.

Humphries had a career-high 10 catches in the game for 91 yards, stepping up as a secondary target behind Evans with TE Cameron Brate out with a back injury.

THIS AND THAT: The Bucs got three sacks — two on blitzes by LB Lavonte David — and finished the season with 38, matching last season's total for the most since 2004. … P Bryan Anger had all five of his punts downed inside the 20. He finished the year with team season records for punting average (45.9 yards) and net punting average (42.7 yards). … The game had an announced attendance of 62,037, which put the team's average home attendance at 60,624. That's down about 1.5 percent from last season but the second-highest average in the past seven seasons at Raymond James Stadium.

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Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

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