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Buccaneers-49ers final score: Jameis Winston bounces back after slow start

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NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-17 on the back of a terrific day running the ball by Jacquizz Rodgers and a nice bounce back performance by Jameis Winston.

Winston finished the game completing 21 of 30 passes for 269 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Rodgers had a whopping 154 yards on 26 carries, and Mike Evans put up a neat eight catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns to continue his outstanding season.

Recap

The Bucs came into San Francisco hoping to put up a quick lead and dominate the 49ers. One quarter into the game, they were down 14-0 thanks to a terrible first defensive drive, and a bad Jameis Winston interception, and things looked rather dire.

That didn’t last very long, though. The Bucs put together a 94-yard drive to give Mike Evans his fifth touchdown of the year, relying primarily on screen passes and runs. A few plays later, they picked off Colin Kaepernick, and Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber pounded the ball down the field.

The only thing standing between the Bucs and a tie game was Jameis Winston, who got called for a personal foul after yelling at the refs after getting to fourth-and-one from the four. That turned it into fourth-and-16 and an obligatory kick, rather than an opportunity to go for it. Thankfully, Roberto Aguayo has been accurate today.

Didn’t last long, though: Jameis Winston found fourth receiver Russell Shepard three times in the two-minute warning, with the third time being a touchdown, giving the Bucs a 17-14 lead.

Those 17 unanswered points then turned into 20, after the 49ers muffed a punt because they had some players ran into each other. And after a sack-fumble of Kaepernick, who didn’t see Jude Adjei-Barimah coming on the blitz, Jameis Winston found Mike Evans in the endzone for the second time in the game and a 27-14 lead.

That was basically all she wrote, midway through the third quarter. The 49ers tried to put up some resistance, but it didn’t do them much good. The Bucs were too good, and Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, and Jacquizz Rodgers just kept on marching down the field — only a Roberto Aguayo miss from 50 yards still kept the 49ers in the game, but it took the 49ers six minutes to get a field goal out of that, still leaving them with a 10-point deficit halfway through the fourth quarter.

Just a few plays later, undrafted rookie Peyton Barber got a 44-yard touchdown run on just his seventh carry of the game, and his tenth in his career. That gave the Bucs a 34-17 lead with 4:42 remaining. That was all she wrote for the 49ers.

Five things we learned

Jacquizz Rodgers can run

Part of this was the result of a terrible 49ers run defense — they may have the worst in the entire NFL — but Rodgers had a whopping 110 yards on just 13 carries at halftime. He looked explosive and steady, which is a nice combination, and simply pounded the ball throughout the game.

For good measure, Peyton Barber added 11 carries for 85 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown.

Jameis Winston can still play football

Winston has been inconsistent this season in what appeared to be a sophomore slump, and it looked like that slump was extending into this game after an early interception — but he quickly corrected, and was near-perfect throughout the rest of the game, which included three nice touchdown throws. And all of that without Vincent Jackson to throw to.

The Bucs defense is getting a hang of it

The Tampa Bay defense hasn’t been great, in part because of constant injuries to the defensive line. Those injuries persist, but the Bucs defense is starting to play better and making play after play. They picked off Colin Kaepernick once, and came close to a few more. The Bucs also forced three fumbles, recovering one of them.

Russell Shepard should maybe start

The Bucs gave the start to Cecil Shorts in Vincent Jackson’s place, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. Shorts had no catches in this game, but Shepard posted five for 77 yards and a touchdown on just six targets — which is better than anything Vincent Jackson did this season. The special teams ace has rarely gotten on the field in his career, but has looked pretty decent when he was. The Bucs should probably give him some more playing time.

Roberto Aguayo is better than his first games

Roberto Aguayo hit his first five kicks in this game, although all of them were shorter than 45 yards, and three of them were extra points. Still, that was a much better performance than we were used to so far this season. His only miss came on a 50-yard attempt in the fourth quarter, and while that’s disappointing, 50-yarders are missed pretty frequently. And he bounced back with an accurate extra point after that one miss.