The Bucs teased us for most of Sunday afternoon and evening. And Mother Nature even got her laughs in, when the skies above Raymond James Stadium opened up at 4:04pm...exactly one minute before kickoff.
The Bucs played with their hair on fire for most of the first half, then lost their mojo in the third quarter.
Nick Folk missed 3 kicks, including 2 field goals, which is a fireable offense.. ask Roberto Aguayo. Yet he came back to kick the game-winning field goal.
The offense couldn’t cross the goal line, when they had a 1st and goal from the 1.
They lost 2 second-half leads, 1 in the fourth quarter with 3:16 left.
They were missing 3 starters on defense.
Yet, the Bucs came back to win...at home, no less, where they started last season 0-4...and where they have the worst home record in the NFL over the past 8 seasons.
Maybe this is the type of Bucs’ team we’ll see from the 2017 edition. A team that can win games late, a team that can mount fourth-quarter comebacks, something they haven’t been able to do for a long time.
And maybe this is another sign that Jameis Winston is growing up. He was belted with criticism after the interception-plagued loss to the Vikings last week. But this win showed maturity. He engineered two scoring drives in the second half, and the game-winning one started with 3 minutes left. He threw 38 times, for 332 yards, and didn’t turn the football over once...not one interception, not one fumble. Now, he still seems to be getting adjusted to DeSean Jackson’s speed...he underthrew the veteran several times, which sent the speedster from Cal into fits on the sideline. But that connection should come.
There’s not much time to savor this win.The Bucs play on Thursday night this week against the Patriots. Bill Belichick’s bunch is coming off a last-second loss to the Panthers, and their defense is reeling.
Hey, that’s right up Winston’s alley.
And Doug Martin is due back from his suspension.
Funny, how one win can change the mood around town. Suddenly, the Bucs are winners again.