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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Antoine Winfield Jr. Snags Second Player of the Week Award

Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his stunning performance in the Bucs' division-clinching win at Carolina in Week 18, his second such award in 2023


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers earned a playoff spot in Week 18 with a shutout win over the Carolina Panthers, and they might not have done so without the stellar play of safety Antoine Winfield Jr. That performance also earned Winfield his second Defensive Player of the Week award in the last six weeks.

Winfield's latest eye-opening performance was punctuated by two plays that kept the Panthers off the scoreboard in Tampa Bay's 9-0 victory, the team's first shutout in 13 years. In the second quarter, he prevented what appeared to be a sure touchdown by punching the ball out of wide receiver D.J. Chark's hands just before Chark extended it over the goal line. The fumble was recovered in the end zone by Jamel Dean for a touchback.

In the third quarter, Winfield's nine-yard sack of quarterback Bryce Young on third down forced the Panthers to settle for a 52-yard field goal attempt by recently-signed kicker Matthew Wright. Wright missed it wide to the left.

Winfield added five tackles on the afternoon and was the only player in the NFC to have five or more tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in a winning effort in Week 18. He helped the Buccaneers limit the Panthers to 199 yards of offense, 11 first downs and two conversions on 12 third down attempts.

Winfield also won the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award the first time the Bucs and Panthers met, in Week 13. He and Atlanta Falcons safety Jessie Bates were the only two players in the NFC to win the award twice in 2023. Winfield and Devin White, who took the honor in Weeks Seven and 15 in the 2020 season, are the only Buccaneers ever to be named DPOTW twice in a single season.

The Buccaneers have won four Player of the Week awards overall in 2023. Punter Jake Camarda was the choice on special teams in Week Two and quarterback Baker Mayfield took the offensive honors in Week 15.

Winfield's Week 18 performance put his final regular season numbers at 122 tackles, 6.0 sacks, six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, eight quarterback hits, three interceptions and 12 passes defensed. He led all NFL safeties in sacks, forced fumbles and fumble recoveries and was second in quarterback hits and overall takeaways.

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