Pro Bowl? Who needs a Pro Bowl? Antoine Winfield Jr. finished the NFL regular season with another standout performance to cap off one of the all time great seasons by a safety. Obviously the standout play was forcing a fumble by Panthers wide receiver D.J. Chark as he attempted to dive across the goal line on a play that would have given the Panthers an early 7-0 lead. It was the second time this season Winfield Jr. forced a fumble by a diving offense player at the goal line.
Now, the NFL has recognized that performance by naming Winfield Jr. the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for the last week of the regular season. Winfield finished the game with five tackles, a forced fumble, and a sack.
On top of that, Winfield Jr. was also recognized on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football by Jason McCourty as the best defensive back in the NFL this season;
Winfield Jr. proudly showed off the belt sent to him when he met with the media on Wednesday;
Winfield Jr. has been incredible this season and is one of the biggest reasons the Bucs are in the playoffs. Finishing the season with 122 tackles, six tackles for loss, six sacks, three interceptions, twelve passes defensed, six forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries. These are numbers we haven’t seen by a defensive back in decades.
While the Pro Bowl snub was certainly big, Winfield Jr. should be a shoe-in for an All-Pro nod this season as no safety - let alone any defensive back in the league - has put up those kinds of numbers or had the level of impact that Winfield Jr. had for the Buccaneers in 2023.