Tides Turning for Bucs on Winning Streak
Tampa Bay Buccaneers know it all too well, just how good their team is at finding new and creative ways to lose games.
Sunday's shootout against the Indianapolis Colts was exactly the kind of contest Bucs fans are used to seeing the short end of, with their team failing to finish on one or the other side of the ball.
But for the third week in a row, the Bucs wrote a different story for their faithful. One that ended in the win column.
Down 35-21 in the third quarter, without star receiver Mike Evans, and with their quarterback nursing a fractured thumb on his throwing hand, the Bucs rattled off the last 17 points of the game. Winston overcame three interceptions, including a pick-six, to throw for a career-high 456 yards, tossing four touchdown passes and rushing for another score.
The Tampa Bay defense shook off their early-game struggles to come up with a pair of key stops in the fourth quarter. Rookie Devin White forced a huge fumble in the red zone, and after Winston's third interception just moments later, the defense held the Colts to a field goal that bounced off the upright.
Winston marched the Bucs down the field, hitting a fourth different receiver in the end zone to put Tampa Bay ahead for good. The defense forced another stop, and the Bucs ran out the clock on an epic comeback win in front of their home crowd.
"We talked about it in the locker room, we talked about the past," quarterback Jameis Winston said at his postgame press conference. "In the past, we'd have lost that game. But the fact that our head coach just has so much belief in us, the fact that we're expecting to go out there and win football games, and there's no negative energy."
Winston isn't the only one who knows the Bucs don't have a great track record of finishing these kinds of games and coming away with victories.
"Years ago, we wouldn't have won football games like this," right tackle Demar Dotson said after Sunday's win. "Even last year, we wouldn't have finished those games. You can see now, even when adversity's hitting, we still bounce back and win football games. That's the sign of a good football team that's starting to turn."
Now on a three-game winning streak, the Bucs currently sit at 6-7 on the season, the same record as the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys. Just a month ago, Bucs fans were understandably more interested in their team's upcoming draft position than whether or not they were going to win on Sunday.
Now, as the Bucs continue to believe they can win every time they take the field, the results might just be starting to convince their fan base of the same.