In Sunday's 36-10 win over the Chicago Bears, Jameis Winston threw for 312 yards on 22 completions in 32 attempts. That's an average of 13.65 yards per completion and 9.45 yards per attempt, both single-game highs for Winston this season.
Since he only completed two passes of more than 20 yards, and only one of more than 24 yards, that's an indication that he was particularly effective in creating mid-range completions. For instance, all of tight end Cameron Brate's career-high seven catches gained produced at least 10 yards and a first down.
A behind-the-scenes look at the Buccaneers' game against the Bears.
Winston threw for more than 4,000 yards as a rookie last year, but there were obviously areas in which he hoped to improve his game. One was his completion rate of 58.3%, which he has upped a bit this year to 60.2%. Some of that is a function of how play-caller Dirk Koetter runs the offense; Winston could be given more high-percentage throws if the only goal was to improve that completion percentage.
The difference can be seen in Winston's yards per attempt versus his yards per completion. Since he entered the NFL, Winston has averaged 7.31 yards per attempt, which ranks 16th in the NFL in that span. In that same time, he has averaged 12.39 yards per completion, which is fifth-best in the league in that span.
Most Yards Per Pass Completion, NFL, 2015-16
- Carson Palmer
- Cam Newton
- Dak Prescott
- Andy Dalton
- Jameis Winston
- Tom Brady
- Marcus Mariota
- Matt Ryan
9/ Russell Wilson
- Ben Roethlisberger
Winston's strong game on Sunday included touchdown passes to Brate and Freddie Martino, giving him 19 scoring tosses on the season. That's the seventh-highest total in the NFL and the most any Buccaneer quarterback has ever thrown through the first nine games of a season.
Combined with the 22 TD passes Winston threw as a rookie, he now has a career total of 41, which are already the ninth most by any quarterback in the first two seasons in the NFL. Winston still has seven
games left in 2016 to climb that list, and he looks certain to move up at least a couple spots before the end of the year. (Note that the criteria here is the first two years the player is in the NFL, not the first two seasons he actually played.)
Most TD Passes, First Two Years of an NFL QB's Career
- Dan Marino
- Derek Carr
3t. Peyton Manning
3t. Russell Wilson
- Andy Dalton
6t. Blake Bortles
6t. Andrew Luck
- Otto Graham
- Jameis Winston
10t. Drew Bledsoe
10t. Marcus Mariota
10t. Cam Newton
10t. Fran Tarkenton
Winston was 312 days into his 23rd year on the planet when he tossed his 40th and 41st touchdown passes on Sunday. That made him the youngest player in league history to hit the 40-TD pass mark.
In his last four games, dating back to Week Seven, Winston has completed 83 of 132 passes (62.9%) for 1,022 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. That produces a passer rating in that span of 105.7, which is sixth best in the NFL during that time. It's fourth best among quarterbacks who have played four games in that span.
Winston has led the Buccaneers to 122 points in those four games, an average of 30.5 per outing that ranks fifth in the NFL during that span. The team has scored at least 24 points in each of those games, the longest such streak since it did so in six straight in 2012, from Games 5-10. These are the five highest-scoring teams in the NFL since Week Seven:
The Buccaneers' offense put the game away in the fourth quarter on Sunday by marching 62 yards on 17 plays for the last touchdown of the afternoon, a one-yard Doug Martin run. That possession was four seconds short of chewing 10 minutes off the clock and was the team's longest this year in terms of both number of plays and time elapsed.
In fact, it was the longest touchdown drive in terms of plays for the Buccaneers in a very long time. Pro Football Reference has NFL drive data compiled back through the 1998 season, and only one other time since then have the Buccaneers put together a touchdown drive of 17 or more plays. The last one was a 17-yard TD march at New Orleans on Dec. 1 of the 2002 Super Bowl season, in a game the Buccaneers lost, 23-20.
The Buccaneers converted four third downs on that long drive (and had another third down erased by a defensive penalty). On the day, Tampa Bay's offense was able to move the sticks on eight of 15 third downs, an excellent success rate of 53.3%. The Bucs also converted eight of 14 tries (57.1%) against Atlanta in Week Nine. On the season, Tampa Bay has converted 42.4% of its third-down tries on offense, the 10th-best percentage in the NFL. The single-season franchise record in that category is 42.9%, set in 1984. The only Buccaneer team to finish above 42% since the turn of the millennium was the 2010 squad, which converted at a 42.2% rate.
In the last four games, the Buccaneers are 23 of 45 (51.1%) when trying to convert a third down with a passing play. That includes a 7-of-11 mark by Winston on Sunday against the Bears. That's the most passing third-down conversions the Buccaneers' offense has had in a single game since it had the same 7-11 finish in a 45-17 rout of the Eagles in Philadelphia last Nov. 22.
The Buccaneers improved their lead to 27-10 in the third quarter on Sunday when Roberto Aguayo kicked a 27-yard field goal to cap a 52-yard drive. What was notable about that possession was that the field goal try came after the Buccaneers had achieved a first-and-goal at the six – that was the first time all season that Tampa Bay had failed to score a touchdown after getting into a first-and-goal situation.
Tampa Bay later started a new streak when Martin scored his one-yard touchdown after the team had achieved a first-and-goal at the Bears' one-yard line. Overall, the Buccaneers have scored 12 touchdowns on 13 goal-to-go drives and they continue to lead the NFL in that category.
Best Touchdown Pct. on Goal-to-Go Drives, NFL, 2016