Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cameron Brate Aiding Bucs' Passing Attack

Stat Shots presented by Air Force Reserve: Three Buccaneer pass-catchers have been among the NFL's best at moving the chains, including tight end Cameron Brate.

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WR Mike Evans and TE Cameron Brate tied for the Buccaneer lead on Sunday with five catches, one ahead of WR Vincent Jackson, who had four. Between them, those three produced 12 first downs on their 14 combined catches. That's an impressive shared number, but not at all out of the ordinary. In fact, Jackson and Evans rank first and second in the NFL this season in the percentage of their catches that produce first downs. Here are the top 10:

Player

Team

Rec

1st

1st%

Vincent Jackson

TB

29

25

86.2

Mike Evans

TB

49

41

83.7

DeAndre Hopkins

HOU

81

65

80.2

Ted Ginn Jr.

CAR

30

24

80.0

James Jones

GB

30

24

80.0

Alshon Jeffery

CHI

43

34

79.1

Nate Washington

HOU

33

26

78.8

Michael Floyd

AZ

28

22

78.6

John Brown

AZ

45

35

77.8

Andre Johnson

IND

26

20

76.9

Brate doesn't have enough receptions to qualify for the league lead in this category, but if you lower the minimum to at least 10 receptions in 2015, he would tie for 11th with a rate of 78.6% (11 of 14). Jackson and Evans would fall to second and third on the list under those circumstances, because Tennessee's Dorial Green-Beckham has recorded a first down on all 16 of his catches. Again, with the qualifying minimum reduced to 10 catches, Brate has the highest first-down rate of any tight end in the NFL.

Brate is also tied for the Buccaneers' team lead with three touchdown catches after his 20-yard score in Indianapolis. With three trips to the end zone on just 14 receptions, Brate is among the NFL leaders in touchdowns per catch. Here are the top 10:

Player

Team

Rec

TD

TD%

Andre Holmes

OAK

8

4

50.00%

Ahmad Bradshaw

IND

10

3

30.00%

Zach Miller

CHI

15

4

26.67%

Tyler Eifert

CIN

46

12

26.09%

James Jones

GB

30

7

23.33%

Darren Fells

AZ

13

3

23.08%

Clive Walford

OAK

13

3

23.08%

Cameron Brate

TB

14

3

21.43%

Seth Roberts

OAK

21

4

19.05%

Martavis Bryant

PIT

27

5

18.52%

All of Brate's touchdown passes have been delivered by rookie QB Jameis Winston. On Sunday, Winston completed 20 of 36 passes for 245 yards, one touchdown and one interception. In the process, he broke the franchise record by most passing yards by a rookie, with five games still to play. Here's the top five:Player, Season, Yards

1. Jameis Winston

2015

2,650

2. Mike Glennon

2013

2,608

3. Josh Freeman

2009

1,855

4. Bruce Gradkowski

2006

1,661

5. Doug Williams

1978

1,170

Winston and Williams are the only two on that list who started on opening day in their rookie campaigns, and Williams was limited by injury to 10 games in his 1978 debut. Glennon actually started the most games as a rookie, with 13. Winston has started the Bucs' first 11 games and is almost certain to start all 16, barring injury. If he does, and he continues producing at his current pace, his passing numbers will have significance beyond his rookie status.

In fact, at his current pace, Winston would finish with the second-most passing yards in a single season in team history. He is on pace for 3,854 yards, not enough to catch Josh Freeman's 2012 team record of 4,065 but enough to inch past the 3,811 Brad Johnson put up in 2003. With 16 touchdown passes through 11 outings, Winston is on pace for 23 by season's end. That would rank fourth in team annals, on a list topped by Freeman's 27 in 2012, Johnson's 26 in 2003 and Freeman's 25 in 2010.

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