Rookie wide receiver Chris Godwin has already won the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award after his stellar performance on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. He's still up for Castrol EDGE Clutch Performer of the Week and Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week.
In the Bucs' last game of the season, Godwin amassed 111 yards on seven catches and scored the 39-yard game winning touchdown as the clock was running out… on a quick decision.
"Well, Jameis [Winston] went for the whole shebang that is the truth on that," Head Coach Dirk Koetter said after the game. "We actually had a play called for our sideline to just try to advance it further down. We have to get out of bounds – [with] 15 seconds left you don't have enough time to clock it. We had a play called [and] the coverage they came out in was good. To be honest with you, I wasn't even looking at the other side of the field, but Jameis [Winston] saw Godwin one-on-one. It was a double move, a slant-and-go, with a little head slant and go. When Jameis let that thing go to the other side I was like, 'Oh my god.' That play right there really signifies everything our season has been right there for it to end like that. With all of the close games we have been in, we were due I guess."
It was a spectacular throw down the sideline by Winston and an even better grab by Godwin inside the 10-yard line, as he ran it in for the score.
"I think anytime you give receivers a chance in this league – you know, it's their job to get that ball," quarterback Jameis Winston said. "And like I said, I give that credit to Chris Godwin. I'm going to say it again, it's by the grace of God, man, because you just can't imagine."
"It seemed like it took forever," wide receiver Chris Godwin said of the play. "It felt like it was sitting in the air for days. When it came down and I caught it, I just [knew] I had to find a way to get in the end zone."
The touchdown pass capped off an 11-play, 95-yard drive inside two minutes to play with the Bucs trailing by just one point. It was a drive that almost didn't happen as Tampa Bay found themselves in a fourth-and-10 situation at their own 5-yard line.
"In the huddle, [Winston] said, 'We are going to go down there and we're going to score and win,' and you know, we believed him," wide receiver Mike Evans said of the final drive. "We kept fighting. We were fourth-and-10 on our five – great play, him and [tight end] Cam [Brate] and then we just got in a rhythm after that."
"It is the same stuff he always tells us," Godwin said of Winston's leadership on the drive. "He is our leader and he stepped up and he said, 'All right guys, let's go make a play,' and nothing really changed. It's the same mentality, but just a little bit different situation."
View photos of Chris Godwin's Week 17 game against the Saints.
The game-winning score was Godwin's first touchdown of his young NFL career. The Penn State-product earned high praise and a familiar comparison from his head coach.
"I see a guy that is way mature beyond his age, a guy that acts like a 10-year veteran out there, a guy that is very tough [and] a guy that is smart enough to play all three positions," Koetter said of Godwin. "We knew he was a good player based on our draft study, but you never really know everything about a guy until you coach him. I hate to throw around comparisons, but he really does remind me a lot of Vincent Jackson. He really does remind me of the things that Vincent Jackson could do and I think the world of Vincent."
Godwin finished the season with 525 receiving yards, the third-most by a rookie this year. His 15.4 yards per catch ranked first among all rookies with at least 32 receptions and 13th in the NFL overall. The Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week and the Castrol EDGE Clutch Performer of the Week honors that Godwin is up for will be announced tomorrow.