Jameis Winston’s Last Laugh Is Getting Louder

(ThePewterPlank)

Jameis Winston has come out of the darkness of a forgettable Week 1 performance to put the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the muddled NFC playoff race.

Much like his final season at Florida State, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback and No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston has gathered his bearings after a shaky start and is looking to finish strong. The Bucs are 4-5 after winning three of their last five contests, good enough to be in the NFC Wild Card conversation.

The insurmountable gap critics created between Winston and fellow rookie, Tennessee Titans signal caller Marcus Mariota after their meeting in Week 1 has all but closed.

It seemed fitting Jameis Winston’s first regular season NFL toss was a touchdown for the visiting Tennessee Titans, led by No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota. After all, it was Mariota who ended Winston’s near flawless career at Florida State in last January’s Rose Bowl. It was Mariota (4.52) who smoked Winston (4.97) in their 40-yard dash times at the NFL Combine. Finally, after winning a Heisman Trophy, National Championship and an outer worldly 26-1 record in two seasons as a starter with the Seminoles, it was Mariota who was the crystal ball choice in having the better overall career.

Given their performances, it looked as if both players picked up where they left off in that night in Pasadena. Before Winston’s turnover, Mariota led the Titans on a five play drive resulting in the first of his four touchdown passes that day in a 42-14 victory.

A week later, Winston and the Buccaneers traveled to the Bayou to take on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. The game was the closest the Bessemer, Al, native would get to a homecoming. Winston rebounded nicely, finishing 14 for 21 for 207 yards and a touchdown. Add six rushes for 23 yards and a score as the Bucs stunned the Saints 26-19.

Since Tampa Bay’s Week 4 home loss to the 9-0 Carolina Panthers, they’ve gone 3-2. More encouraging has been Winston’s steady improvement as an NFL quarterback. During this stretch Winston has passed for 1,194 yards with four touchdowns, two interceptions (His two interceptions last week were his first in over a month) and a completion rate of 61 percent for a QB rating of 93.2. Winston has also rushed for 62 yards and three touchdowns.

Throw away a monumental collapse against Washington and a tough road loss to the NY Giants and the Bucs would be among the leaders in the NFC Wild Card clubhouse. Those defeats were eventually learning tools as the Buccaneers rebounded from the Washington loss to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in a hard-fought road contest. Last Sunday, the Tampa Bay played their second of three consecutive games against NFC East opponents and came away with a gutsy 10-6 victory against the Dallas Cowboys.

With close to a minute to go in what was one of the uglier NFL contests this season, the Bucs were on the Cowboys four-yard line when Winston dropped back before making a B-line to pay dirt. Winston took a leap for the end zone at about the three-yard line. Winston lost control of the ball in mid-air before being hit into a fantastic somersault by a Cowboys defender. Dallas recovered in the end zone and celebrated what was thought to be a clinching victory, but a holding penalty negated the turnover and gave the Bucs a second chance from the Dallas one-yard line. Winston took the snap and practically walked into the end zone sealing the win on a quarterback bootleg.

In the post-game presser, there were questions about the play that nearly cost the Bucs the game and not the play that ensured victory. Winston, to my delight had already put that near disaster out of his head.

Winston was obviously feeling himself from his heroics the previous week in a loss against the Giants in making a similar, yet successful scoring leap.

Winston’s whirling-dervish antics over the last two weeks were a cover-you-eyes moment for fans who aren’t used to seeing him take many chances with his feet. Despite measuring out at 6’4″ 235 lbs., Winston doesn’t have the bear claws of Cam Newton. In fact, Winston has one of the smaller pair hands of among quarterbacks in the NFL.

Those leaps of faith are clear indicators Winston is a player willing to lay it on the line all in the name of victory. Of course there are some who will still prefer to point to his off the field antics at Florida State, the sexual assault allegation and his first pass in The League in comparison to leading a surging young squad to the brink of the NFL postseason.

Winston’s preference not to discuss the negated fumble against the Cowboys says one thing, he’s not looking back. My recommendation is you do the same because he’s going to shine regardless.

The more you look back, the louder Jameis Winston laughs.

5 Responses to “Jameis Winston’s Last Laugh Is Getting Louder”

  1. Michelle says:

    Good read!!! Winston and the Bucs seem to be on their way. It would help if his receivers would stop dropping passes.. I’ll stay tuned?

  2. Michelle says:

    The ? Is a typo.. Eeeek.. Lol

  3. Ron Glover says:

    They’re in an ideal spot, this Eagles team is reeling and today could be the kill shot for Chip Kelly’s playoff hopes.

  4. Michelle says:

    Chip needs to GO!!!! Winston and company picked them apart and they offered little resistance.. The Eagles are a team in turmoil. While Tampa is a team on the rise..