Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston Has Historic Day vs. Saints

Stat Shots, presented by the Air Force Reserve: The Buccaneers got big contributions from young players in every phase of the game Sunday, from Jameis Winston to Jacquies Smith to Kyle Brindza.

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the New Orleans Saints, 26-19, Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, evening their 2015 record at 1-1. Here are some of the more notable statistics and milestones from Sunday's game:

The Buccaneers, who haven't had a player post a 10-sack season since Simeon Rice got 14 of them in 2005, have been touting Gerald McCoy as the biggest threat to that drought. That's understandable, given that McCoy has been to three straight Pro Bowls, has more sacks than any other defensive tackle since 2012 (more on that below) and has already hit 9.5 and 8.5 in the last two seasons.

McCoy is off to a good start in that pursuit, with a sack in each game so far, but it doesn't look like it's going to be a one-man race anymore. With three sacks of Drew Brees on Sunday, second-year defensive end Jacquies Smith already has four on the season, putting him on pace for 32.

Smith is now atop the NFL leaderboard in that category after two weeks (pending Monday night's game between the Colts and Jets). McCoy is tied for 11th. Here are the top five sack producers in the league so far (note that Smith is at the earliest stage in his NFL career in that group):

Player

Team

NFL Season

Sacks

Jacquies Smith

TB

2

4.0

Justin Houston

KC

5

3.0

Chandler Jones

NE

4

3.0

Derrick Morgan

TEN

6

3.0

Smith's three-sack game was the first by a Buccaneer defender since McCoy got that many against the Falcons on November 17, 2013. It was only the third such performance by a Buc in the last decade, the other belonging to Jimmy Wilkerson at Philadelphia on October 11, 2009. It was the 24th three-sack game in team history (including the postseason, and also including four prior to 1982, when the sack became an official statistic), and surprisingly a full quarter of those games have been against the Saints. The Bucs' six three-sack games against New Orleans are their most against any team.

Obviously, it will be difficult for Smith to maintain a 32-sack pace (the NFL record is 22.5, set by the Giants' Michael Strahan in 2001), but he has gotten off to an encouraging start in that chase of double digits. McCoy, too, is on pace for 16 sacks, which would fall just short of the Bucs' single-season record of 16.5, set by Warren Sapp in 2000. If Smith and McCoy can both make it to double digits, that would mark the first time the team had two 10-sack playerssince that 2000 campaign, when Marcus Jones complemented Sapp's record with 13 of his own. The Buccaneers set a team single-season record that year with 55 QB takedowns; the 2015 team is on pace for 48.READ: 5 STANDOUTS FROM BUCS VS. SAINTSTwo of Smith's sacks also caused fumbles

, which made him the first Buccaneer to post two or more sacks and two or more forced fumbles in the same game since 2007. Stylez G. White recorded 2.5 sacks plus two forced fumbles at Houston on Dec. 9 of that season.

Smith had 6.5 sacks in his debut NFL campaign last year after the Buccaneers claimed him off waivers from Buffalo just before the start of the season. He played in 15 games in 2014, eventually taking over as the starter at right end. With his efforts at the beginning of 2015, Smith now has 10.5 sacks in his NFL career, recorded over the course of 17 games played. That ties for the fifth fewest number of games a player has needed in a Buccaneer uniform to get to 10 sacks. It is the third fewest games into an NFL career that a Buccaneer player has reached double digits, since two of the other four on the list came to the team after playing elsewhere.Fastest to 10 sacks in Buccaneer history:

Player

Games

Seasons

1t. Lee Roy Selmon

14

1976-77

1t. Simeon Rice

14

2001

  1. Santana Dotson

15

1992

4t. Jacquies Smith

17

2014-15

4t. Stylez G. White

17

2007-08

Smith gradually worked his way into a bigger role on the Bucs' defense last year, and after his first six games he was still looking for his first career sack. He got it in Week Nine (at Cleveland on Nov. 2) and since then has been on a tear. From Week Nine of 2014 through yesterday's game – a span of 11 outings – Smith has that aforementioned total of 10.5 sacks. That is the third most for any player in the NFL in that span and it puts him in the company of some of the most feared pass-rushers in the league.

Most Sacks Since Week Nine of 2014:

Player

Team

Sacks

  1. JJ Watt

HOU

16.5

  1. Justin Houston

KC

15.0

3. Jacquies Smith

TB

10.5

4t. Elvis Dumervil

BAL

10.0

4t. Mario Williams

BUF

10.0

McCoy missed the last two games of the 2014 season with an injury, but he's now had at least one sack in five of the last seven games in which he's played, and seven of the last 10. He has pushed his career sack total to 29.0, moving into sole possession of seventh place on the Bucs' all-time list in that category. He needs just five more sacks to take over sixth place and six to vault all the way to fifth.

Player, Seasons

Sacks

  1. Lee Roy Selmon, 1976-84

78.5

  1. Warren Sapp, 1995-03

77.0

  1. Simeon Rice, 2001-06

69.5

  1. David Logan, 1979-86

39.0

  1. Chidi Ahanotu, 1993-2000, 2004

34.5

  1. Brad Culpepper, 1994-99

33.0

7. Gerald McCoy, 2010-Present

29.0

  1. Rondé Barber, 1997-2012

28.0

9. Broderick Thomas, 1989-93

26.5

10. Greg Spires, 2002-07

26.0

**

The Bucs hope they are developing a young star on the offensive side of the ball, too, as quarterback Jameis Winston led his team to its first win since he was chosen first overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. Winston was sharp and efficient in the win at New Orleans, completing 14 of his 21 passes for 207 yards and one touchdown. Thanks largely to the completion percentage and the avoidance of interceptions, Winston's numbers added up to a passer rating of 114.6. That's the fifth-best single-game mark for a rookie quarterback in team history.

Best Single-Game Passer Ratings, Rookie (Min. 100.0 rating):

Player

Opp., Date

Rating

  1. Mike Glennon

at DET, 11/17/13

138.4

  1. Mike Glennon

vs.ATL, 11/17/13

137.5

  1. Mike Glennon

at SEA, 11/3/13

123.1

  1. Josh Freeman

at ATL, 11/30/09

118.5

5. Jameis Winston

at NO, 9/20/15

114.6

  1. Shaun King

at CHI, 1/2/00

109.4

  1. Doug Williams

at KC, 10/8/78

108.2

  1. Bruce Gradkowski

at NO, 10/8/06

107.6

  1. Bruce Gradkowski

vs. WAS, 11/19/06

104.9

Winston did something no Buccaneer rookie quarterback had ever done before: Start and win a game in September. That he did so on the road even made him a standout among the elite group of quarterbacks who have been taken first overall in the draft. According to ESPN.com in alliance with the Elias Sports Bureau, Winston is the first QB in that group to start and win a road game in the season's first month since Hall of Famer John Elway in 1983. Elias also points out that Elway's two September wins that year came courtesy of late-game rallies by Steve DeBerg after the veteran QB relieved the rookie. Since Elway, #1 picks had lost 16 straight September road starts.

Winston scored the Buccaneers' second touchdown of the game on Sunday with a one-yard run. He is one of just six quarterbacks in the NFL who have already recorded at least one touchdown on the ground and through the air, joining Minnesota's Teddy Bridgewater, St. Louis's Nick Foles, Houston's Ryan Mallett, Carolina's Cam Newton and Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor. Winston, Newton and Taylor are the only ones who have a rushing touchdown and at least three passing touchdowns.

**

The Buccaneers may have a young star in the making on special teams as well. Kicker Kyle Brindza accounted for 14 of the team's 26 points by making four of five field goal tries and both extra point attempts in the Superdome. His only miss was on a 52-yard field goal try, but he started the scoring with a 55-yarder that split the uprights in the first quarter. Brindza is the first Buccaneer to score at least 14 points in a game since RB Bobby Rainey notched three touchdowns and 18 points against Atlanta on Nov. 17, 2013. Brindza is the first Tampa Bay kicker with 14 points in a game since Connor Barth hit that mark on Oct. 16, 2011, also against New Orleans, though it was a home game. The last Buccaneer kicker with at least 14 points in a road game was Martin Gramatica, who scored all 15 points of the Buccaneers' 15-0 win in the 2002 season finale against the Bears in Champaign, Illinois.

Brindza tied a record that Gramatica shares in the Bucs' annals, as he became the fourth rookie to make four field goals in one gamefor the team. Gramatica did it once in 1999, as did Donald Igwebuike in 1985, while Steve Christie did it twice in 1990. Brindza's 55-yarder tied for the second-longest ever made by a Buccaneer rookie kicker. It was just the ninth successful field goal of 55 or more yards in team annals. Here are those nine, with the three rookie performances marked with asterisks:

Player

Opp., Date

FG

  1. Matt Bryant

PHI, 10/22/06

62

  1. Connor Barth

WAS, 9/30/12

57

  1. Michael Husted *

@LA, 12/19/93

57

  1. Connor Barth

@DEN, 12/2/12

55

  1. Connor Barth

HOU, 11/13/11

55

4. Kyle Brindza*

@NO, 9/20/15

55

  1. Martin Gramatica

DET, 10/19/00

55

  1. Donald Igwebuike

@MIN, 11/30/86

55

  1. Patrick Murray *

@NO, 10/5/14

55

Brindza also made a big impact on the team's field position battle with the Saints with his long kickoffs. All seven of Brindza's kickoffs traveled well into the end zone, with most of them sailing beyond the back line. When Saints return man Marcus Murphy did decide to run one out from five yards deep, he was stopped by the Bucs' cover men at the Saints' 18. As such, the Saints had an average kickoff drive start of just shy of their 20-yard line. Through two games, the Buccaneers are fourth in the NFL in that category, with their opponents averaging a start of their own 18.9-yard line.

Brindza has forced eight touchbacks on 10 kickoffs through two games. That 80% touchback rate is tied for ninth in the NFL. Michael Koenen owns the five best single-season marks for touchback percentage in team history, the highest of which was 68.2% in 2012.

**

The fact that their first play from scrimmage came at their own four-yard line after a Saints punt may have influenced the play-calling to start the game for the Buccaneers. On the first play, they sent out a run-heavy formation with three tight ends and Russell Shepard as the lone receiver. As it turned out, that snapped the team's longest-running streak of starts by any player.

WR Vincent Jackson had opened each of the first 49 games he played as a Buccaneer after signing as an unrestricted free agent in 2012. Dating back to his time with the Chargers, Jackson had actually started 69 straight games before Sunday, then the longest active streak by any receiver in the NFL. The player with the longest active streak of starts for the Buccaneers is now guard Logan Mankins, with 38. Mankins also has the longest current streak of starts as a Buccaneer, with 18.

GAME AWARDS: BUCS VS. SAINTS

Of course, Jackson not starting was merely semantics; he still played 55 of the team's 66 snaps and caught three passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. His 15-yard TD catch at the very back of the end zone just before halftime was his 18th as a Buccaneer and the 55th of his NFL career overall. Jackson moved out of a tie with Gerald Carter and Keyshawn Johnson to take over eighth place on the team's all-time list.

Buccaneers Career Touchdown Receptions Leaders:

Player, Seasons

Rec. TD

  1. TE Jimmie Giles, 1978-86

34

  1. WR Kevin House, 1980-86

31

3. WR Joey Galloway, 2004-08

28

4. WR Mark Carrier, 1987-92

27

5. WR Mike Williams, 2010-13

25

6. TE Dave Moore, 1992-2001, 2004-06

24

7. WR Bruce Hill, 1987-1991

23

8. WR Vincent Jackson, 2012-Present

18

9t. WR Gerald Carter, 1981-87

17

9t. WR Keyshawn Johnson, 2000-03

17

After Jackson scored to give the Bucs a 10-7 lead at the half, the team came back with an 80-yard touchdown drive to open the third quarter. That might have seemed familiar: The last time Tampa Bay scored touchdowns on their last possession of the first half and their first possession of the second half was actually at New Orleans last season, on November 5. The Bucs lost an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter of that game and fell, 37-31, in overtime. This time, they held on for the win.

**

New Orleans fumbled five times in Sunday's game, and Buc defenders were credited with forcing four of them (the fifth was a muffed punt). As mentioned above, Jacquies Smith got two of them on plays on which he hit Drew Brees as he threw. The others belonged to S Chris Conte and CB Sterling Moore.

According to Statspass, that was the first time the Buccaneers forced four fumbles in a single game since 2007, when they did it to both Atlanta and Washington on back-to-back weekends (Nov. 18 and 25). The Bucs' record in that category is a whopping eight, which they did against Green Bay on Dec. 7, 1998 in a 24-22 Monday Night Football victory.

Conte's forced fumble against RB Mark Ingram set up Brindza's last field goal just after the two-minute warning and helped slow down the Saints' comeback attempts. Earlier in the second half, Conte intercepted a deep pass intended for Brandin Cooks down the right sideline. Conte is one of only four players in the NFL so far this season to have an interception and a forced fumble in the same game. The other three are the Giants' Trumaine McBride, the Panthers' Josh Norman and the Chargers Patrick Robinson.

Three of Brindza's four field goals came on drives set up by a Saints turnover. The last time the Buccaneers scored three times off turnovers in the same game was in a 41-28 win over Atlanta on Nov. 17, 2013.

**

Since Drew Brees arrived in New Orleans in 2006, the Saints have averaged 388 yards of offense in games against the Buccaneers. On Sunday, Tampa Bay held Brees and company to 323 yards of offense, the fourth-lowest mark for the Saints in that span. The Bucs' four sacks of Brees equaled their best total in those 19 games (also, September 15, 2013) and the 4.7 yards per play gained by the Saints was their second-lowest, barely edging a mark of 4.6 on January 2, 2011.

It all added up to the Buccaneers' first win over New Orleans since 2011 and their first victory in the Superdome since the 2010 season finale. The Saints had won the previous seven games, the longest streak for any team in the all-time series and what was the Bucs' second-longest active losing streak against any club. Tampa Bay has lost eight straight to the New York Jets.

**

Odds and Ends

  • The Buccaneers won 26-19 on Sunday, marking the first game in the team's 40-season history to end in exactly that score. According to Statspass, it is just the third game ever to end in that score. Denver beat the Patriots by that score on Nov. 4, 1984 and San Diego did it to Indianapolis on Nov. 3, 1996.
  • DE Will Gholston blocked an extra point attempt by Zach Hocker in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game, marking the first unsuccessful PAT by a Tampa Bay opponent since Nov. 13, 2011. That, too, was a blocked kick, by DT Albert Haynesworth. Coincidentally, the last kick of any kind that was blocked by the Buccaneers also belongs to Will Gholston. He denied a 64-yard attempt by Justin Tucker at the end of the first half against Baltimore on Oct. 12 of last season.
  • The Buccaneers broke up six of Brees' 38 passes, and three of those belonged to linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander. David and Alexander had nearly identical stat lines at game's end, each with four solo tackles and four assists, but David had two of those three PBUs. After two games, both linebackers have exactly 13 tackles, one tackle for loss and two passes defensed, though Alexander has added a forced fumble.
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