Walk-Off Pick-Six in OT Sinks Bucs vs. Falcons
Jameis Winston's 30th interception of the year ended the 2019 season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones picked him off on the first play of overtime and returned for a game-winning touchdown.
The Bucs fell to their NFC South rivals despite leading entire second half, until a field goal in the final play of regulation tied the game at 22.
Winston's final interception of the season, which was tipped at the line of scrimmage, made him the first player in NFL history to throw for 30 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions in the same season, as the Bucs secured a losing record (7-9) for the eighth time in nine seasons.
Tampa Bay scored all 22 of their points in the second quarter, with Winston finding Cameron Brate for a 2-yard touchdown on 4th-and-goal to cut the Falcons' early lead to 10-7. Rookie linebacker Devin White scooped up a Jason Pierre-Paul strip-sack and returned in 91 yards for a touchdown. Winston capped off the first half with a desperation heave to the end zone, with Breshad Perriman out-leaping multiple Falcons defenders and barely coming down in the end zone in the final seconds.
Even in a losing effort, the Bucs made plenty of positive history. Winston became just the eighth quarterback in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards in a season, while outside linebacker Shaq Barrett broke his tie with Hall of Famer Warren Sapp for the team's single-season sack record. Barrett's three sacks put him at 19.5 for the season.
Bucs linebacker Lavonte David also became just the fourth player in Bucs history to record 1,000 career tackles.
Tampa Bay's ground game got a spark from second-year running back Ronald Jones II, who rushed for 106 yards on just 11 carries. Perriman continued his impressive stretch in place of injured Pro Bowlers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, leading the Bucs with five receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown.
The Tampa Bay defense sacked Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan six times, with Jason Pierre-Paul getting a pair and Vita Vea getting one to add to Barrett's hat trick. Ryan finished the day with 313 yards and a touchdown through the air, with Julio Jones leading the Falcons with 75 receiving yards on seven catches. Falcons running back Devonta Freeman was held in check, managing just 58 yards on 18 carries, averaging just 3.2 yards per attempt.
It was a crushing loss for a Bucs team that had built plenty of positive momentum over a four-game winning streak, only to drop their final two games at home. The Bucs have quite a few difficult decisions to make at key positions this offseason, as they hope to avoid a fourth straight losing season in 2020.