When Jameis Winston got the ball at the start of the fourth quarter, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had scored just six points all game. They were down 22 points and seemed to have lost the game unless the Bucs scored quickly. And to make matters worse, Winston had to start from his own two-yard line.
Just two minutes later, the Bucs found themselves in the endzone. It took four plays, four passes, two Mike Evans catches, one by Donteea Dye and one by Luke Stocker to traverse the field. These were not easy passes, but the kind that many NFL quarterbacks struggle to make. This drive is why Winston has the potential to be one of the very best quarterbacks in football.
98 yard TD drive in the 4th quarter on the road. The ball placement, eye manipulation, touch on full display again. pic.twitter.com/rnAS0plFqd— Brandon Thorn (@VeteranScout) December 19, 2015
These three throws were followed by a fourth -- a quick touchdown to Luke Stocker on a roll-out -- for what was as perfect a drive as you'll see out of an NFL quarterback. The three throws are astounding: they're on time, with anticipation, the first thrown under pressure and placed in a perfect spot. The third throw in particular is ludicrous: dropped in the bucket in between two safeties, the kind of deep throw that Winston has struggled to make the past month or so.
It's important to note that these throws came after Winston looked horrendous in the first half -- off-target, off-rhythm and flustered, in part because of blitzes and Aaron Donald.
Ultimately, that wasn't enough for the Bucs to win the game, but it gave them some hope -- not just for that game, but for the future of the team. Because every single week, Winston displays the ability to make those ridiculous throws -- and every week, he demonstrates the ability to minimize his mistakes, as well. The Bucs haven't had that kind of quarterback in a long time.