Jameis Winston got his first win as an NFL quarterback. Admittedly it was just preseason, but the rookie led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on an 80-yard touchdown drive to open Monday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and looked strong as he finished his abbreviated appearance in a 25-11 victory.
Winston's night ended when he rolled his ankle after being sacked early in the second quarter. Fortunately for the Bucs, the injury does not appear to be serious. He remained on the sidelines and had no issues jogging into the locker room at halftime. Still, the coaches took no chances with their prized quarterback, especially with rookie offensive linemen trying to block Geno Atkins ahead of him.
Winston finished 8-of-13 for 90 yards on the night and had a 1-yard touchdown run to begin the scoring. The Buccaneers went up 23-0 before the Bengals were able to get on the board. Their second score came on a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown by Alterraun Verner after some miscommunication between Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green. After Dalton threw another interception on Cincinnati's next possession, Bucs backup quarterback Mike Glennon threw a pretty 22-yard touchdown pass to Russell Shepard to the right edge of the end zone.
The Bengals' offense was out of sync the entire night, gaining just 152 total yards to 356 for the Buccaneers. Dalton finished his night with 46 yards and two interceptions on just 6-of-13 passing. The Buccaneers out-gained the Bengals on the ground, 145 to 42.
3 things we learned
Jameis Winston doesn't look like a rookie
Unfortunately we didn't get to see Winston play much. His night ended early after a minor injury scare. What we did see was encouraging for the Buccaneers, though. On the opening possession of the game, he went 3-of-3 to lead the Bucs on an 80-yard touchdown drive that he capped with a 1-yard dive into the end zone.
Winston started slow in his Week 1 preseason debut, beginning the game 3-of-10 against the Minnesota Vikings. He finished strong, however, and threw a nice 40-yard deep ball to Vincent Jackson as part of a 6-of-9 finish. Through two games, Winston has been more good than bad. Yeah it's just preseason, but it's better than the alternative. For example ...
Andy Dalton is in postseason form
Dalton threw two interceptions in a stretch of three passes during the first half. The first, a 24-yard pick-six by Verner intended for Green, admittedly wasn't his fault. The second, however, was rather inexcusable, and recalled Dalton's frequent postseason miscues.
He finished 6-of-13 for 46 yards in addition to the two picks, doing little to take away the foul taste of last season's loss to the Indianapolis Colts during the first week of the playoffs. It didn't help that his receivers were out of sync, and what is supposed to be a good offensive line couldn't buy much time for Dalton or the Bengals' running backs. The Bengals' offense is talented on paper, but thus far nothing seems to be working properly.
Doug Martin back!?
Doug Martin has had a rough last two seasons, but he was in fine form Monday, rushing six times for 59 yards including this beautiful 30-yarder:
- Winston is okay after rolling his ankle early in the second quarter.
- Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter and stayed out of the game. He could miss the rest of preseason.
- Bengals linebacker Emmanuel Lamur was forced to leave Monday's game after suffering a hamstring injury. He was immediately ruled out for the game.
- Bengals safety George Iloka suffered a bruised kneecap, but was ruled probable to return.
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