Head Coach Dirk Koetter had said immediately following the game on Sunday that he though Jameis Winston's best play was a 13-yard dart to Chris Godwin in the back of the end zone for Winston's second touchdown of the day inside the two minute warning before halftime.
"On the touchdown we had a crossing route going to the left side of the end zone and Chris was on the very back end line – number four in the progression," Koetter said. "When Jameis [Winston] stepped up, that's something that Monk (Todd Monken) works with those guys all the time – Chris converted right away to scramble rules and that was it. That was a heck of a throw by Jameis. That ball had a lot more juice on it than you might think. He had to throw it over the corner and back end zone and the safety was over there to the left. That ball had a lot on it, so that was a little tougher catch than it probably looked like."
As high praise as that is for both Godwin and Winston on the play, Coach Koetter changed his tune a bit Monday after looking at the tape, calling the play Winston's second-best throw in the end. His actual best? It happened in the same drive but was to a different receiver and was probably a throw and catch only the two of them could make.
"He threw that skinny post to Mike [Evans] in that same drive where he really did a great job of looking off," Coach Koetter said of the sell. "He threw that thing so early, when it came out of his hands I thought it was going to get past Mike before Mike turned around because Mike put a little extra secret sauce on his route – it's a rhythm cut. Mike shook it a little bit, so I didn't think Mike was going to get there. That was a great throw by Jameis."
It bordered on the basketball-equivalent of the no-look pass. Winston had trips to his left and after the ball was snapped, continued looking to that side until the last second. He ended up snapping his head quickly in the other direction, throwing to Evans on the right side where he was alone running that skinny post route from a split right on top of the numbers. He cut inside at just the right time on the cornerback and whipped his head around at the exact moment he needed to in order to make the catch. In real time, it was one of those 'WHAT??' moments that can only be attributed to absolute perfect timing. It got the Bucs 20 yards and inside the red zone on a drive that would eventually result in that aforementioned Chris Godwin touchdown. Not a bad series for Winston.
Rookie wide receiver Justin Watson was a guest on the Bucs Total Access radio show yesterday. He talked about being a rookie and which guys he's been able to lean on and learn from. Coming from the Ivy League's Penn it was a little bit of a culture shock, but he said tight end and fellow Ivy-Leaguer Cameron Brate helped him out tremendously in helping Watson get acclimated when he first arrived. It was Brate who helped him find an agent when the NFL process started for Watson. It ended up being Brate's agent who just secured a big contract for the tight end this offseason. Brate also offered Watson a person to sit with at lunch when he got to Tampa and would even invite him out to dinner. Watson said it was nice to have a friendly face and someone to have as a resource, even if he would rag him on Harvard vs. Penn. Harvard won this year and Watson said both Brate and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick took full advantage of finally being able to get a little rivalry going. Ivy League problems, amirite?
Football-wise, Watson said watching quarterback Jameis Winston and getting to work with him has really shown him what kind of player and teammate Winston is. It started back during training camp, but there are so many times even now in the middle of the season where you'll see Winston working with guys like Watson after practice to help them get their routes or timing down. It's the reason Winston and Brate have such a good rapport. Those two have been building their chemistry for years, taking extra reps with each other. Watson just says it's simply because Winston is all football.
"I think the first thing that jumps out to you about Jameis is, he loves football," Watson said of Winston."Coming here and watching him work, he truly is the first person here every day. You're not being Jameis into the facility. That's what he loves doing. He loves sitting there and watching film. He loves helping young guys out. He loves staying after and throwing routes. You can appreciate it when you see the passion he's playing with on the field but I think when you see him bring it each day, he even loves doing all the little things and the tedious things. That's when it really shows through how much he loves football and everything about it."
View Team Photographer Kyle Zedaker's best photos from the Buccaneers' Week 13 win over the Carolina Panthers.
In the locker room after Sunday's win, Watson also revealed how everyone knew it was time to let loose a little bit: when Head Coach Dirk Koetter put his hat on backwards. It was a well-deserved celebration after coming away victorious over a division-rival, even if it only lasted for a couple minutes before it was back to business as usual.