Jameis Winston's legs have carried him to the end zone twice this preseason, but it's his right arm that has the Bucs excited about their rookie quarterback.
Winston showed complete command in his second NFL start in Monday night's 25-11 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, giving Lovie Smith his first victory at Raymond James Stadium.
Winston completed 8-of-13 passes for 90 yards and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He went 3-for-3 on the drive that was helped by Doug Martin's 53 yards rushing. The Bucs first overall pick also spread the football around, targeting eight receivers with his first eight passes Monday.
"My first two passes were checkdowns, so that was a big thing,'' Winston said. "I don't think I had too many checkdowns the first game.
"Completions all and all help you settle in and the way we were playing, we started fast and that was a good thing.''
Winston left the game early in the second quarter, several plays after he appeared to sprain his right ankle following a sack by Geno Atkins and Wallace Gilberry. He was checked by trainers following the game and the Bucs do not think the injury is serious.
But Bucs coach Lovie Smith decided he had seen enough and replaced Winston with backup Mike Glennon.
"That was a tough fall he took there,'' Smith said. "But no, that was just a coach's decision on my part. I thought we saw enough of him. I thought he did some good things and thought that was a perfect time to take him out. But if we needed him to play, he would've gone back in the game the next series.''
The only mistake Winston made was missing a wide open Mike Evans for a deep pass that likely would've resulted in a touchdown. Evans left the game with a hamstring strain in the first quarter and has no catches in the first two preseason games.
"Jameis would probably tell you he'd like to have that deep ball back,'' Smith said. "Besides that, I thought he was accurate throughout. Even on some of those incompletions, I thought the ball was right there. They had a couple good plays by their defenders. But I thought he was in control from the start and had an excellent week of preparation and played winning football.''
Prior to Monday night, the Bucs had lost 11 games in a row at Raymond James Stadium, including all 10 last season under Smith. Winston said regardless of it coming in the preseason, it was important to get the victory.
"Obviously, people are going to look at this as a preseason game,'' Winston said. "But in that locker room, our team morale, we're going to look at that as us getting a win. That's important. You know, winning does matter. It doesn't matter if it's a football game in a Walmart parking lot, we want to win. So that's important to us.''