Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis' Game-Winning Drives Turning Heads

Jameis Winston is delivering game-winning drives at a pace never before seen from a quarterback of his age.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Indianapolis Colts, 25-12, on Sunday to snap a two-game winning streak and drop to 5-6. Here are some of the more notable statistics and milestones from Sunday's big win:

It's safe to say that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't draft Jameis Winston first overall for his running ability. Winston's pre-draft scouting report on NFL.com contained this tidbit: "Lacks athleticism to extend plays for very long outside of the pocket." And yet the Buccaneers' impressive rookie quarterback continues to make meaningful plays with his legs…and maybe more importantly his sheer will.

Winston did so two more times in Sunday's win over the Atlanta Falcons. He scored the game's first points on a five-yard touchdown run when a designed rollout play presented him with no good throwing options but one narrow lane to the end zone. He took the latter and dived over the goal line underneath a pair of converging defenders. Later, while leading the Bucs on a game-winning touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter, Winston converted a third-and-19 with an improbably second-effort run for 20 yards.

Winston has certainly displayed a nose for the end zone, having scored five rushing touchdowns this season. That's the second-highest total among all NFL quarterbacks this season.

Most Rushing Touchdowns, Quarterbacks, 2015

Player

Team

Rush TDs

  1. Cam Newton

Carolina

7

2. Jameis Winston

Tampa Bay

5

3t. Tom Brady

New England

3

3t. Kirk Cousins

Washington

3

3t. Andy Dalton

Cincinnati

3

3t. Joe Flacco

Baltimore

3

3t. Tyrod Taylor

Buffalo

3

Now forget the fact that Winston is a quarterback (if you can)…his five rushing touchdowns are tied for third among all NFL rookies this year, no matter the position, and he's just one off the lead.

Most Rushing Touchdowns, Rookies, 2015

Player

Pos.

Team

Rush TDs

1t. Todd Gurley

RB

St. Louis

6

1t. Jeremy Langford

RB

Chicago

6

2t. Jameis Winston

QB

Tampa Bay

5

2t. Karlos Williams

RB

Buffalo

5

5t. David Johnson

RB

Arizona

4

5t. Thomas Rawls

RB

Seattle

4

Not surprisingly, Winston's rash of rushing TDs is making a mark in the Buccaneers' own record book. Several marks, that is. First of all, he has four games left in 2015 and a chance to break the team's record for most rushing touchdowns in a single season by a quarterback. He's already tied the mark, which was first established by a quarterback who was known for his rushing ability.

Most Rushing Touchdowns, Buccaneers QB, Single Season                                                                                                                                                                  

Player

Season

Rush TDs

1t. Jameis Winston

2015

5

1t. Shaun King

2000

5

1t. Steve Young

1986

5

4t. Josh Freeman

2011

4

4t. Doug Williams

1980

4

4t. Doug Williams

1981

4

Fittingly, Winston got his record-tying score on a day that the team inducted former Buccaneers QB Doug Williams into its Ring of Honor at halftime. Williams happens to hold the Bucs' career record for rushing scores by a quarterback, but Winston has needed just 12 games to rise all the way into a tie for third on that chart, with second place just ahead.

Most Rushing Touchdowns, Buccaneers QB, Career                                                                                                                                                                  

Player

Seasons

Rush TDs

  1. Doug Williams

1978-82

13

  1. Steve Young

1985-86

6

3t. Jameis Winston

2015

5

3t. Shaun King

1999-03

5

3t. Trent Dilfer

1994-99

5

3t. Vinny Testaverde

1987-92

5

Oh, Winston threw the ball on occasion against the Falcons, too. His last pass of the day, for instance, was a five-yard touchdown connection with WR Mike Evans that produced the game-winning points with less than two minutes to play. That's already the third time in just 12 career games that Winston has directed a game-winning march, defined as an offensive scoring drive in the fourth quarter or overtime that gives the team a lead it will not relinquish. Winston had previously directed such drives against Atlanta in Week Eight and Dallas in Week 10.

According to Pro Football Reference, which tracks game-winning drives (and has Peyton Manning as the career leader with 54), Winston is one of nine quarterbacks this season who has directed at least three such drives. No player has more than four.

Most Game-Winning Drives, 2015

Player

Team

GWDs

1t. Blake Bortles

Jacksonville

4

1t. Matt Ryan

Atlanta

4

3t. Jameis Winston

Tampa Bay

3

3t. Jay Cutler

Chicago

3

3t. Andy Dalton

Cincinnati

3

3t. Joe Flacco

Baltimore

3

3t. Peyton Manning

Denver

3

3t. Cam Newton

Carolina

3

3t. Carson Palmer

Arizona

3

Not that Winston is the only rookie on that list. In fact, is just the 14th quarterback to direct as many as three game-winning drives in his rookie season. Once again, we are using game-winning drive date compiled by Pro Football Reference.

Most Game-Winning Drives, Rookie, NFL History

Player

Team

Year

GWDs

  1. Andrew Luck

IND

2012

7

  1. Ben Roethlisberger

PIT

2004

6

3t. Geno Smith

NYJ

2013

5

3t. Russell Wilson

SEA

2012

5

3t. Vince Young

TEN

2006

5

6t. Andy Dalton

CIN

2011

4

6t. Matt Ryan

ATL

2008

4

8t. Jameis Winston*

TB

2015

3

8t. Teddy Bridgewater

MIN

2014

3

8t. Bruce Gradkowski

TB

2006

3

8t. Carson Palmer

CIN

2004

3

8t. Jay Schroeder

WAS

1985

3

8t. Virgil Carter

CHI

1968

3

** Through 12 games

Winston may not be the only rookie to lead as many as three game-winning drives, but he's the youngest quarterback ever to do so. The list below is *not exclusive to rookies.*

*

Player

Team

Year

Age^

GWDs

Jameis Winston*

TB

2015

**21

3

Teddy Bridgewater

MIN

2014

21**

3

Geno Smith

NYJ

2013

22

5

Andrew Luck

IND

2012

22

7

Josh Freeman

TB

2010

22

5

Ben Roethlisberger

PIT

2004

22

6

Kerry Collins

CAR

1995

22

3

Drew Bledsoe

NE

1994

22

3

Brett Favre

GB

1992

22

3

Bernie Kosar

CLE

1986

22

7

Dan Marino

MIA

1984

22

3

Mike Pagel

BAL

1983

22

4

Virgil Carter

CHI

1968

22

3

^ Age on season's opening day. * Through 12 games. * Winston was 21 years, eight months and seven days old; Bridgewater was 21 years, nine months and 28 days old; the remaining quarterbacks were all 22 and are ordered chronologically, not by specific year-month-day age.

*

Thanks to research conducted by Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune and TBO.com, we know that Winston has a chance to post the best rookie-season passer rating among all quarterbacks drafted first-overall since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Cummings revealed that note on Sunday, before the Buccaneers' win over Atlanta, but Winston did nothing to hurt his cause. His 18-of-27 performance with 227 yards, one touchdown and one interception on Sunday produced a single-game passer rating of 89.6 which bumped up his season mark just a bit, from 85.3 to 85.7. Carolina's Cam Newton finished his rookie campaign with a rating of 84.5.*

If Winston can continue to improve his rating, he could become just the sixth Buccaneer, and the first Tampa Bay rookie, to finish a season north of 90.0. Below are the top 10 single-season passer ratings in Buccaneer annals. If Winston starts the final four games of the season, he will have the second-highest single-season rating in team history among quarterbacks who started every game.

Best Passer Rating, Single Season, Buccaneers

*

Player

Year

GP

Rating

  1. Brian Griese

2004

11

97.5

  1. Josh Freeman

2010

16

95.9

  1. Jeff Garcia

2007

13

94.6

  1. Brad Johnson

2002

13

92.9

  1. Jeff Garcia

2008

12

90.2

6. Jameis Winston*

2015

12

85.6

  1. Steve DeBerg

1987

12

85.3

  1. Mike Glennon

2013

13

83.9

  1. Trent Dilfer

1997

16

82.8

  1. Craig Erickson

1994

15

82.5

** Through 12 games

*With another 227 passing yards on Sunday against Atlanta, Winston improved his season total to 2,877, leaving him just 123 yards shy of the first 3,000-yard campaign by a rookie in team annals. In fact, at his current pace, Winston would finish with the second-most passing yards in a single season in team history, rookie or not. He is on pace for 3,836 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 17 touchdown passes through 12 outings, Winston remains 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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