Jameis Winston had arguably one of the best games of his career last weekend in a 27-9 win against the San Francisco 49ers. He completed 29 of 38 passes for 312 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
It was the game we have been waiting for all season long from Winston. Not only was he extremely accurate with the ball, but he was calm in the pocket, he didn’t force anything down the field and took what the defense gave him, and even took a sack when nothing was there.
It was clearly an improvement from earlier on in the season before his benching, there is no doubt about that, but this week will be the real test on whether or not Winston has taken a step forward.
In his six career games against the Carolina Panthers, Winston has completed just 61.36% of his passes and has thrown only five touchdowns compared to nine interceptions. Statistically, it is by far his worst stats against an opposing team. Winston and the Buccaneers offense has also failed to score over 23 points against Carolina in all the games he has started.
The Panthers have a dominant front seven and we have seen Winston force way too many throws when that pressure arrives in his face. You know that the bad starts against the Panthers will be in the back of his head, so it will be interesting to see how he reacts this week.
If we see the Winston of old, it will be very concerning, but if the Winston from last Sunday shows up, you can make the case that he has turned over a new page in his career. Yes, it will have only been two and a half games, but if for two and a half games he can eliminate those dangerous throws, that’s improvement. We simply have never seen that from Winston.
We will have plenty of answers regarding Winston come Sunday at about 4 p.m.